Dale Chihuly, being born and raised in Tacoma, WA, has just opened his newest garden and glass exhibit at the Seattle Center. On this 1.5 acre plot, he developed an exhibition hall and garden all centered around a glass conservatory containing a 100-foot long sculpture that is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.
“Glass Forest” – One of Chihuly’s first large-scale installations, done in collaboration with James Carpenter, was originally exhibited in 1971 at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. The Glass Forestelements are created by simultaneously blowing and pouring molten glass from the top of a stepladder to the floor below, where the deflated bubble solidifies. The glass stalks or stems are arranged in an enclosed space and illuminated with electrically charged neon and argon.
“Sealife Tower” – this tower resides in the Sealife room of Chihuly’s Glass Exhibition and takes inspiration from the sea, specifically the Puget Sound
“Ikebana and Float Boat” – Chihuly first filled boats with glass in 1995 as part of the Chihuly Over Veniceproject. After several days of glassblowing in Finland, Chihuly and the team made temporary installations along the Nuutajoki, the river nearby. He experimented with tossing glass forms into the river to see how the colored pieces would interact with water and light. As the glass floated away, local teenagers gathered them in small rowboats, and Chihuly considered a new type of installation. Chihuly has a longtime interest in wooden boats, and when the team found an old wooden rowboat, he filled it with glass parts he made in the Nuutajärvi factory. He has continued to develop the idea since.
“Reeds on Logs”
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.” Chihuly takes his work beyond traditional indoor gallery presentations creating elaborate installations that flow on floors, walls, ceilings and the outdoors. The installations take on new life when juxtaposed with the natural environment.