If you have visited any of the thousands of botanical gardens in the world, you have more than likely laid eyes upon massive colorful glass sculptures. Famed artist Dale Chihuly created these sculptures. Visiting every garden in the world would be costly and time-consuming, but luckily, you can see a vast collection of Chihuly’s works in one place. Seattle, Washington.
Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, briefly Chihuly dropped out of college out of boredom and decided to study art in Italy. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, Dale started experimenting with glass blowing, which would eventually lead him to enroll in the first American glass program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After working at a glass factory in Venice, Italy, working on his craft, Chihuly eventually returned to the United States to teach at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine while simultaneously creating his glass sculpture collections.
Drawing inspiration from life and different cultures, as in the “Basket Series,” was inspired by Native American baskets he saw at a History Museum. Pictured above is a basket made out of glass sought to replicate the effects of weight, gravity, and time.
I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in some way that they’ve never experienced.” -Chihuly
Each of the eight galleries in the museum represents a comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly’s work. The centerpiece is the 4500 square foot glasshouse home to one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures, a 100-foot long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and amber.
I recommend arriving when the exhibit opens and going straight to the glasshouse for photos, and then working your way back through the museum.
One of my favorite galleries is the Ikebana Float Boats. In Finland, Chihuly experimented with temporary installations along the shore of a river and tossed glass forms into it to see how the glass would interact with the wood and the light. Thus the inspiration for these boats.
If you find yourself in Seattle, Washington, add this to your list of places to visit!