Monday, July 31, 2017

Chihuly Garden and Glass


The last morning we were in Seattle as part of a 19-day excursion with our youngest granddaughter, we took in the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition. It’s part of the Seattle Center, whose best-known attraction is the Space Needle. A series of five short films are part of the exhibit. They feature Dale Chihuly talking about his approach to some of his exhibitions. Pictures in this blog come from the Seattle exhibit.


Having visited some of his other exhibits, I would have guessed that he was a deep planner, with each piece’s placement well-considered before the glass-blowing began, and then placed in its pre-determined spot. Turns out he’s more of a seat-of-the-pants kind of guy.

Oh sure, he sketches out big pieces, but he’s not a slave to the design. For example, while developing one exhibit, he took great delight in tossing his glass creations into a river to see how they would float together, what patterns they would make, how they would flow, and so on. Kids collected them and stuck them in a large rowboat. Chihuly was so struck by the arrangement the kids made, he included the same concept in several subsequent exhibits, including the one in Seattle.







When Chihuly creates his very large chandeliers, he and his team produce the component parts, but when it comes to constructing each chandelier, serendipity plays a huge part. One film shows the team putting together a new chandelier for an installation. Chihuly stood below and periodically held up a piece and said, “Make sure to include this somewhere. I like this piece.” Later, a small hole in the pattern developed that he commented on several times, making sure they knew it was there and kept it. “After all, nature does the same thing.”







It was clear he enjoyed himself throughout the whole process. When it comes to his art, he has kept the freedom of a child: willing to experiment, follow a wild idea, challenge himself and his partners.

Exiting the exhibit, I was looking forward to the next chance I had to write. Thanks, Dale.

This blog originally appeared 30 July 2017 on Writers Who Kill.