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These glass artisans have received the “Artesanía de Vanguardia” Award, which distinguishes creativity and innovation to obtain advanced and unique products. How do they do that? Juan gives details in this interview.

Can you tell us how did you begin? I entered the world of glass in 1980 in the company Viarte, Alcoi. I started as a draftsman and designer of stained glass, but I gradually began to touch the glass. In 1984 I became independent, although I still work with the company and my own workshop amount of glassmaking in Alcoi. In 1987 I moved to Valencia to finish Applied Arts in the specialty of artistic glassmaking with José Ignacio Pertegaz.

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Did you have a family story craftsmen? I don’t have. Yes, my sister Mila studied ceramics in Valencia and Faenza and she was one of those responsible in the implementation of the specialty design floor and wall tiles in the school of Applied Arts of Castellón. Both were on the founding team of the Technological Institute of Ceramic Design. (ALICER).

The firm is also formed by the belgian Lut Stessens, with whom you founded ‘Payá&Stessens Artesanos‘. How did you meet and how you formed the company? In 1988 I got a scholarship from the Association for Research in Ceramic Industries (AICE) to study ceramics at the Istituto Statale d’Arte Gaetano Ballardini in Faenza, Italy. Lut, who had studied ceramic art in Belgium, also came to Faenza the same year to further his studies. There, fate brought us together. In 1991, once we completed the studies in Italy, we settled in Castellón, incorporating in the sector of wall and floor tiles as product designers. Eventually I realize that the industry doesn’t give me the satisfaction I had as a craftsman and I propose to return to craftsmanship. In 2003, we started the project Payá & Stessens, with baggage of experience in the industry.

You combine design with artisan processes and new technologies in your projects. Are inseparable these elements for you?

Most of our works are unique pieces, which are designed to meet the needs and expectations of our customers. We analyze each project in detail. We know manufacturing techniques and industrial decoration of glass and ceramics, live in the cluster of ceramic floor and wall tiles and there are many companies that provide technology services such as cutting water (Waterject), metal disposition (PVD), surface miling, 3D printing, etc. Depending on the characteristics of the project we like to incorporate some of these technologies, combined with traditional processes, they offer us the ability to perform complex, difficult pieces to obtain otherwise. We design handcrafted pieces and sometimes introduce new technologies to enrich the finish.

Which products are currently the most in demand?  Stained glass mirrors and murals. During four years we worked jewelery made from Murano glass and porcelain, which, along with objects for use and decoration we make, is presented at fairs.

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Does the crafts has future in the twenty-first century? Traditional crafts will always exist and never will be despreciated because it is intrinsically part of the story.

In recent years we are witnessing a rapprochement between designers and craftsmen, which is giving rise to craft cutting-edge products and is one of the ways forward for different objects of high value. The introduction of design, incoporating new professionals with specific training and the introduction of new materials and techniques is creating a new trend, a new concept of craftsmanship, contemporary advanced and quality, “Neo-craftsmanship” of the twenty-first century.

Do you have new projects in hand? The largest project is the preparation of a joint exhibition medium/long term relationship with our friends DeFerro, Ximo and Inma, iron craftsmen. We want that works are a marriage between iron, glass and ceramics.

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