Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle

Ever since we first saw his enormous fantastical chandeliers at the Corcoran in DC I've been a big fan of Dale Chihuly's glasswork. My old post on our Studio 155 exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum last year shows the beautiful amorphous Chihuly glass shapes displayed against the hallway windows there. I'm longing to visit his main working studio in Tacoma,Washington, but it's 3,000 miles away on the west coast, as far away from Virginia as England!
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I did get to Seattle for a few days, which is just north of Tacoma. I was accompanying Chloe to her annual Art Therapy Assoc convention and one of the big attractions for me, other than some quality mother/daughter bonding time, was the new Chihuly gallery on the campus of the 1962 World's Fair. It turned out we arrived a day early for Chloe's sessions (that's my girl!) so we had a whole day free to enjoy ourselves.

The gallery is laid out in separate, themed rooms. Many of the exhibits, such as this one, are in the dark and on a mirrored surface so the reflection is highlighted along with the glass. I should also say they are enormous, this was several feet high and stretched far to the right and the left. It reminds me of flamingoes.

This is a detail of a HUGE one, reminiscent of the chandeliers. 


This is a ceiling in a walkway between 2 rooms. Everyone was craning their heads up, trying hard to take a photo that would begin to do it justice.

Details from ceiling......

                                                                Absolutely gorgeous!

                     This whole room was taken up by a gondola of glass on a mirrored floor.

                          These photos are of a massive glass forest you could walk right round.

                              Some of Chihuly's energetic drawings and paintings are also on display.

By this time it was such a visual overload experience, even the neon exit sign looked pretty special!                                          

In the gift shop the umbrellas had been hung from above to echo the ceiling height exhibits. I quite wish I'd bought one now. 

The gallery is called Garden and Glass. The sheer scale of this magnificent room! It's a transition to the outdoor garden exhibits. The weather is rather like Britain..... grey skies and drizzle. 

Outside that same room you can see how the landscaping is carefully color co-ordinated with the glass, so the exhibits are quite camouflaged. The photo above shows how the orange of the glass flowers in the transition room behind is echoed by the beautiful foliage. You almost don't notice the massive amethyst tower and the orbs that look like boulders.

The shapes and colors are so organic, sometimes you have to look carefully to see the glass.

My lovely daughter! We're in beautiful Seattle and the weather is good enough to eat outdoors. What could be nicer?


  1. Great photos! The images look like dreamscapes. We will definitely get to Tacoma one day.

  2. These are absolutely gorgeous! What an amazing exhibit. I would be walking around with my jaw hanging open ... gaping at everything. You took some great photographs!

    1. Thanks, Teresa! Everyone did react much like that and it was nice that they encourage you to take photographs. Never been to the Pacific NW before, loved seeing the snow capped mountains in the distance and all the pine trees growing around town. Very different from the East coast!

  3. Yes ! Like Dreams & Hopes.....The Colour You Found There Is Fantastic.

    1. Thanks, Tony. Bit drizzly, Seattle, must get a lot of rainbows to compensate.

  4. This is so beautiful. Glass is an amazing medium. I've always been fascinated by the artistic glasswork in Venice, both modern and from previous centuries, but this is just wonderful.
    Glad you are enjoying the north-west. I love Seattle....even if it can be a little damp. It is a very exciting city, and some of the Washington state scenery is just out of this world. Jx

    1. One of his major exhibitions was in Venice, an installation of amazing chandaliers over the bridges and canals. That would have been quite a sight to see!
      The mountains are really dramatic out west aren't they? We only had 4 days unfortunately and no car, I'd love to go back. You know America very well, you must have made good use of your time here!

  5. Wonderful shapes and colours!!!!! Can imagine how hard it was to get photos that conveyed even a fraction of what you were experiencing, but you've taken some beauties. Particularly liked the hands-on dimension of the final photo...a nice bit of art therapy!

    1. Hi Liz, thanks for looking and nice to see you xxx
      In 3 weeks time we'll be in England..... will email soon