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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle


In the heart of the Emerald City, Seattle, there is a glass art exhibition showcasing the life's work of Dale Chihuly. Born in the Pacific Northwest, Chihuly began experimenting with glass blowing in 1969 and later traveled to Venice to work at the Venini factory on the island of Murano. The world famous Murano glassmakers still lead the world in the art of glassblowing.

I first saw a glass museum on our way to Niagra Falls with my friends on a 4th July weekend, way back in 2008. Then, SG and I received two gorgeous Murano glass centerpieces in 2010, as a wedding gift from an Italian family friend. I have left it for safekeeping with my mother-in-law unless we find a nice spot to house them.

In 1976,  Chihuly had a head-on car accident in which he flew through the windshield, got severe cuts in the face and got blinded in the left eye leading to his loss of depth perception. Then in 1979, in a bodysurfing accident, he dislocated his right shoulder. Chihuly relinquished his gaffer position and let others work on his designs. He started to communicate his vision by drawing forms which became an important part of his self-expression. In an interview in 2006, he said,'Once I stepped back, I liked the view.'

Glass Forest
Organic forms created by letting glass down from a ladder

Mille Fiori (a thousand flowers)
Inspired by Chihuly's mother's garden
Mille Fiori, in Italian, also refers to a type of honey gathered from several flowers

Growing up in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly often beachcombed and found Japanese fishing net floats along the beaches of Puget Sound. The Ikebana and Float Boats were inspired by this childhood experience.  In the mid-1990s, he was in Finland when he threw his glass forms into the local river near the glass factory there.

One day, Dale woke up and said that he wanted to hang glass chandeliers in his favorite city, Venice. He had seen a chandelier in Barcelona in a low lying ceiling. It inspired him to make the chandelier series.

Similar to a floppy bowl I made in BAGI, these art pieces are clouds of bright color

A reflection of the Seattle Space Needle on a glass ball in the garden

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