I have always been fascinated by art glass of all kinds ever since I visited a glass blowing factory in Murano, an island in Venice, Italy, as a teenager on a school trip. Over the years I became familiar with Dale Chihuly's beautiful studio glass sculptures after seeing his large and colorful art glass pieces on display through visits I made at the Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In fact, Chihuly's glass works are part of over 200 museum collections world wide, plus as part of the decor of many diverse public venues and gardens, and continue to gather critical aclaim. A few years ago I was fortunate to visit a magnificent outdoor exhibit of Chihuly art glass exhibit at the Denver Botanic Garden. It was the Rocky Mountain's regions first major exhibit of his work, and a wonderful success for the garden. You can read my blog post about this wonderful exhibit on this link. So when my husband and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington, last autumn to celebrate our anniversary, I was excited to finally be able to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit located at 305 Harrison Street at the Seattle Center.
(All photos in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)
After paying admission and entering the exhibit, you will see a series of panels that tell the interesting chronological story about Dale Chihuly's development as an artist. Born in 1941, in Tacoma Washington, he was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. He went on to study glass at the University of Wisconsin and the Rhode Island School of Design, In 1968 he received a Fulbright Fellowship and went to work at the Venini Glass Factory in Venice, where he learned the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded the Pitchuck Glass School in Washington State, which helped develop glass as a fine art medium.
Chihuly was fascinated by Native American baskets and blankets and he began to represent this native work with glass vessels. To learn more about the objects in the Northwest Room here.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Dale Chihuly has a love of sea life and had a desire to show sea creatures moving in a glass medium. To listen to more about the "Sealife Tower," click here.
The Persian Ceiling. A plethora of bright and colorful hues ofswirling glass To listen to Dale Chihuly talk about this creation click here.
Looking up to the top of the Persian ceiling room. It's an amazing feeling to look up at all those backlit colors and see them reflected on the floor!
Chihuly said he was inspired by his mother's beautiful garden when he was growing up. This large sculpture filled an entire room. It was entitled "Mille Fiori," which means "A Thousand Flowers" in the Italian language and represents his mother's garden.
Please click on to enlarge
Photos really don't do this large and beautiful exhibit justice, but I tried to photograph as much of this work as I could to show you as much of its elements as I could.
You can listen to the audio tour description of Mille Fiori here.
In contrast to the colorful Mille Fiori sculpture, Chihuly next wanted to experiment with shades of white, alabaster, opaque and translucent glass, and he created this series of works called the "White Venetians."
If you click on to enlarge this photo you can see the translucent details within this glass sculpture. Truly exquisite!
The Chandelier Room was filled with what are now iconic Dale Chihuly chandelier sculptures in all shapes and colors. I have seen chandeliers like these in many places over the years, including the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey--click here--to see that post, and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver--click here --to see that post. They are always spectacular and almost seem alive with all the individual pieces of glass that make up their components.
The detail in the pieces are amazing. To listen about the Chandelier Room click here.
The Macchia Room was inspired by new glass stain colors that Chihuly discovered in Germany. The pieces are lined with white glass that left a spotted impression that Dale decided to call "macchia," which means "spotted" in Italian. To hear more about these flower like sculptures click here.
Looking up from the center of the glasshouse we could see a view of the Space Needle standing outside.
To listen to more about the glasshouse sculpture click here.
Outside, leading into the garden exhibit, there was a corridor of Chihuly chandeliers hanging along a ceiling overhang. They looked like bright and dazzling flowers!
The entire Garden exhibit is about 26,000 square feet (2,415 m) in size. It has winding paths that bring one around the various gardens composed of live trees, shrubs and flowers along with the incorporated glass sculptures that are in different hues. This sculpture close to the Glasshouse is called the "Yellow Sun."
Look at how many pieces make up this amazing sculpture!
The autumn colors of the trees during our visit added to the overall beauty of the exhibit.
Some of the garden sculptures looked almost like actual plants....
...while others looked like pieces from a mystical fantasy!
There were so many garden vignettes to enjoy.....
...as well as imposing ethereal towers of glass!
If you'd like to see videos about some of the other Dale Chihuly exhibts click here to see the video page on his official web site.
I was so happy to have had the opportunity to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle, Washington to see his magnificent works in all their splendor. It truly was one of the highlights of our trip!
We had a wonderful Easter and Spring is in full bloom here in Colorado. I'll bring you back to our trip to the Pacific Northwest in future posts, but I'd love to show you some historical sights in my own neighborhood on my next post--see you then!
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