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?

Friday, July 5, 2013

No disappointment

This year's July 4th firework display at Wintergreen Resort, VA was like no other I've seen. It had rained on and off all day despite a better forecast, and we wondered whether it would be canceled. Hard to do last minute though as there were bands booked to play, craft stalls, food vendors etc already set up and it's always a very well attended event. So they obviously decided the show must go on.

By 9.30 pm the clouds were low over the ski slope and there must have been a lot of moisture in the air. The fireworks produced their own smoke which got trapped in the atmosphere and the effect was as if they were going off behind a gauze curtain, even the bangs seemed muffled. I thought it was quite a beautiful effect, albeit low key compared to the normal colorful show. The crowd usually "ooooh"s and "aaaaah"s and the occasional child usually has a crying fit, but there was none of that this time, the atmosphere was very subdued.

                                                    The metal pole is a snowmaker.