My mother has been a long-time Dale Chihuly fan. She came out to visit us in 2011 and we went to Tacoma where he has a few exhibits at the Museum of Glass. So when I heard about the large exhibit planned for the Seattle Center I called her to tell her about it. It opened May 21, 2012. This past September when she was out visiting we went to see it. It was every bit as lovely as I thought it would be. In some ways, it was even better than I imagined.
These are some of my favorite photos from our day. All taken with my iphone.
This is a 15 ft tall tower in the Sealife room. The exhibit “takes inspiration from the sea and Puget Sound.”
Up after a Persian Ceiling room was “the Mille Fiori. Italian for “a thousand flowers” – Chihuly assembles gardens of glass that include many of his series of works. The artist has said that memories of his mother’s garden serve as inspiration for these “gardens of glass”.
The next room housed Ikebana and Float Boats. “This installation includes two of Chihuly’s wooden rowboats, one filled with Ikebana elements and another with Niijima Floats. Their origins date to 1995 in Nuutajarvi, Finland, where he experimented with temporary installations along the shores of the nearby river and tossed glass forms into it to see how the glass would interact with water and light. Local teenagers gathered the drifting glass in rowboats, inspiring Chihuly to create a new type of installation with a variety of forms including two see here.
The Ikebana Boat features long, flower-like glass stems inspired by the Japanese art of ikebana. Niijima Floats were inspired by the artist’s trip to the Japanese island of Niijima and by childhood memories of discovering Japanese fishing net floats along the beaches of Puget Sound.”
Next were some Chandeliers. Chihuly first started these in 1992 during a solo exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. In 1995-96 he pushed scale and placement in Venice. Thirteen Chandeliers were hung in outdoor sites throughout the city. This room includes five installations from, or inspired by, Chihuly Over Venice.
The next room housed Chihuly’s Macchia Forest. “Chihuly realized that the glass panes looked more clear and vibrant against a cloudy sky than a blue one. This idea inspired his experimentation to separate the interior and exterior colors by adding a white layer in between…. Each work is speckled with color, which comes from rolling the molten glass in small shards of colored glass during the blowing process. To complete the piece, he adds a lip wrap of contrasting color.”
From here we went into the Glasshouse. It’s 40 ft tall, made of glass and steel and contains “an expansive 100-foot long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber. Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. The perception of the artwork varies greatly with natural light and as the day fades into night.” We wandered through the room and then into the garden area outside. Chihuly has often said, “I want my work to appear as though it came from nature so if someone found it… they might think it belonged there.”
(all descriptions of the installations came directly from the Exhibit or www.chihulygardenandglass.com )