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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chihuly's Glass Garden in Seattle

The art of glass is a place where artistic vision, exquisite craftsmanship and landscape design come together.  Currently, there's an exhibition of Chihuly Glass at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, which may be a distance to go see, but worth it!  It's the third major installation in a US Museum, following exhibitions in San Francisco and Boston. One can expect huge crowds and colorful visions that are full of surprise.

Chihuly's Garden of Glass opened last spring in Seattle. 
The Seattle museum is adjacent to the Space Needle and Frank Gehry's Experience Music.   Over Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Seattle when it wasn't raining, thanks to my niece for choosing the right time to have her wedding on Bainbridge Island.


September is lovely in Seattle, and when the sun is out, the full spectrum of the colors can be appreciated.  It may not be as bright in winter, but if I had to live there through the rainy winters, the colors  probably would give me some solace.  Chihuly is a native of Tacoma and it is a wonder that he developed such color and technique in this climate. Chihuly studied glass blowing on the island of Murano, near Venice, Italy, one of the few places known for making exquisite glass. Glass blowing techniques go back to the Egyptians, and the Romans learned from them.   Surprisingly, there are many other glass artists and craftsmen working today, but we really have to credit Dale Chihuly for bringing back artistry, craftsmanship and popular interest into the art of glass.

Radiant complementary colors abound.The Garden of Glass includes outdoor and indoor spaces.
One time I had gone to the Chihuly's Bridge of Glass in Tacoma on a rainy winter day.  I tried, but it was impossible to appreciate the array of colors through the gloom of a rainy winter day.  From November to April, the rain is constant in Washington.

There are many rooms and sections of the indoor museum, including a section of Native American weavings which have influenced the artist.  To me the Glass Forest, below,  is the most impressive interior room.  Circles, swirls, and organic shapes compete for attention against a black background.




Before leaving the building, flowers of glass hang from the ceiling.     Light, color and reflection give a endless array of design.

The Chihuly Garden of Glass is permanent but the Virginia Museum exhibition will last until February 10th.  Going along with its exhibition, the museum made and recently this video of Dale Chihuly in his studio.  He obviously needs a host of workers in the Walla Walla Studio to make these magnificent organic visual wonders.