Three generations of trade and tradition
Abanicos Vibenca is the result of three generations of a Valencian family that have been dedicated to the craftwork of hand fans since 1910. The one who started it all was my grandfather, Don Antonio Benlloch Martínez. He began as an apprentice at a very early age, in several important factories.
My grandfather Don Antonio Benlloch created soon his own style and started to be recognized. His craftwork and painting style allowed him to become independent at an early age, thus setting up his own painting workshop. Then, my father, Vicente Benlloch Palau, was born and he started to follow the path of my grandfather. First, he started working side by side with his father, and later, he sat up his own workshop.
I´m their son and grandson, Vicente Benlloch Caballer, and since I was a child I watched how they hand painted each fan. I “savoured” all those smells that are so characteristic of a fan painting workshop: The smell of the paintbrushes, the tin cans and all the varnishes. Shortly, I began to paint some small brushstrokes, never better said, I began the valencian craftwork.
I was already working with my father when I wanted to take a step further, so in 1994 I decided to sell our work directly to different stores. I started to manufacture by myself and I made my own sample of fans, with different and unique models.
It didn´t take much to get new clients as this style of painting obtained by the three generations was positively valued. I had been working with my clients for many years, which I was very grateful for, but I thought that I could still go further. I wanted to reach the people in person, in fact, I wanted to have my own STORE. But not just a simple store, I wanted something more. I wanted to show how a hand fan was made and painted. I wanted to make my family recognized, as well as tribute my grandfather, my father, my mother and my sister… Tribute all those who have worked in this tradition that was settled in Valencia for more than 300 years ago.
That is why I started the project of ABANICOS VIBENCA. I wanted a store where people could see me work. Where my brushes were right by my side, as well as my paint cans and my half-finished fans, where I could talk to customers and people who wanted to know more about the job. I wanted a store where they would not only take home a hand painted fan, but a store where the customers and the people who visited us would bring to their homes a valencian tradition, specially a family tradition.
I have now created that store, and its name is ABANICOS VIBENCA, where in the back room we have our workshop open to the street for people to see us paint. This is where there is a mutual interest in what is truly ARTISAN.