Genius from Seattle
Dale Chihuly is a genius and my favorite living artist. He designs the most extraordinary sculptures, objects, and chandeliers out of glass in colors that look like the inside of a kaleidoscope.
I discovered him on a PBS special several years ago. He had gone to Venice to work with the Venetian glass blowers. At the end of the experience, he hung pieces over the canal and finally, sent colored glass bubbles floating along the Grand Canal while trying not to get caught by the local water police. I was hooked.
I saw his work for the first time in the middle of the casino at Atlantis in the Bahamas. I stopped dead in my tracks and knew it was a Chihuly, but needed confirmation. While everyone around me was searching for the perfect slot machine, I went searching for a concierge to confirm my suspicion. When I found one, I asked him if the gigantic orange glass marvel was, in fact, a Chihuly. He smiled knowingly and nodded yes. Now, I was REALLY hooked.
How this one-eyed genius shapes hot liquid into the shapes he creates is simply mystical. The colors he imbues into the creations are unique, dazzling, and ever-changing as they catch the light.
Whenever I travel to a new city, I do my research to see if he has work displayed there. I saw some wonderful pieces in New Orleans. I’ve been to several of his shows in New York City, including the in situ creation at the Bronx Botanical Gardens (there is one currently in Phoenix, Arizona). Here, he created pieces that fit the landscape. They floated in the pond; they sprouted up from the earth. They danced like birds and flowers in the garden. Gorgeous. Genius.
His home and studio are in Seattle. His studio is closed to the public, but there are installations nearby. Needless to say, that is on my travel destination list of places I still need to visit. Learn more about Chihuly and glass blowing at www.chihuly.com.
His influence can be seen throughout the Seattle area especially at the Museum of Glass where his Bridge of Glass is supposed to be a marvel to witness. Go to: www.museumofglass.org to see more.