While members of Prince Albert’s Catholic community are used to seeing Father Hervé Vallée standing in front of the congregation, they may not know about his other passion.
It isn’t hard to see, though. All they would have to do is look up.
Vallée is a retired Catholic priest and a stained glass artist, and that work has earned him the honour of joining the Prince Albert Arts Hall of Fame. Vallée is one of four inductees being celebrated tonight at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre during the 2018 induction ceremony.
According to a press release, Vallée has created stained glass windows found in Sacred Heart Cathedral, St. Joseph Church, Mont St. Joseph Home, Herb Basset Home, Keyhole Castle and the Prince Albert Arts Centre. He has also created stained glass windows within community churches in St. Louis, Burch Hills, Shellbrook, Canwood, Leask and Melfort.
“Herve is most recognized as an artist for his creations in stained glass,” the press release said.
“Herve worked from his home studio for several years where he invited many interested and budding artists to try their hand at stained glass window-making.”
That passion hasn’t faded. Vallée is working on another project, a window depicting Jesus healing the blind for Sacred Heart Cathedral. He said the hall of fame nod came as a bit of a shock.
‘it was a surprise,” he said.
“I’m the kind of person that stands in the background. I don’t like being out where I can be seen. I’m happy in a way, because people recognize talent, not only mine. It’s symbolic of recognizing people’s talent.”
Vallée first got into stained glass when a friend told him about a shop in Saskatoon teaching the art.
“I thought it was so beautiful, the colours were so vibrant,” he said.
‘I thought I had to get involved n this.”
Vallée bought the equipment and started working on a few little things. People liked them, so he got more involved, working on church windows.
But stained glass is far from his only art practice. Vallée is one of two remaining charter members of the Mid-Pro Rock and Gem Society at the Prince Albert Arts Centre. Since 1974, he has been a regular, participating and teaching lapidary faceting and cabbing (gem cutting), even serving as chairperson for several years.
He was also a founding member of the Prince Albert Council for the Arts.
For Vallée, it’s all about working with different materials.
“I’m really passionate about the properties of art materials,” he said.
” I like to discover their properties and work with them. I think it’s engaging to see what you can do once you know the properties.”
Like stained glass, rock and gem carving and polishing can take lots of time. The experience, for Vallée, is spiritual.
“9When a work is done) I rejoice,” he said.
“I’m very much a believer in God, and to me, it’s a revelation of a facet of what God is like. The one who made these materials shows me what my God is like.”
While an accomplished artist in his own right, Vallée’s favourite part isn’t creation. It’s teaching. He has mentored young artists with Mid-Pro and has taught stained glass at the arts centre.
“The best part for me is sharing my knowledge with other people,” he said.
“I really enjoy it when people who work under me are really happy with what they are doing.. I help them expand their horizons, their view of their surroundings changed because they become more aware of what’s around them.”