A Thing of Beauty: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuli Glass!One of Seattle’s finest destinations, Chihuly Glass and Gardens, is located at the base of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center. This magnificent exhibit includes three primary components: the Garden, the Glasshouse, and the Interior Exhibits.

A northwest native, Dale Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass blowing as a fine art. Chihuly was introduced to glass while enrolled at the University of Washington. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at Rhode Island School of Design where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade. In 1968 he worked in Venice where he observed and later adopted the team approach to glass blowing.

In 1971 Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School, an international glass art school near Stanwood, WA. He has received wide acclaim, both nationally and internationally, for his innovative and ambitious exhibitions.

At Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass, we walked first into the exhibition entrance, then wandered from room to room, each featuring its own impressive theme: Glass Forest, Northwest Room, Sealife Room, Persian Ceiling, Mille Fiori, Ikebana, and Float Boat, Chandeliers and Macchia Forest. Each room bears a theme in spectacular color and texture that flows on floors, ceilings and walls. The walkway leading to the garden is resplendent with chandeliers.

The magic continues in the Garden with dramatic glass artfully interspersed with live plants, flowers and trees. The Glass House, a 40-foot tall structure inspired by Chihuly’s appreciation for conservatories, includes a 100-foot long suspended sculpture.

The Bookstore features books and materials relating to Dale Chihuly’s artworks. The gift shop has partnered with Northwest companies and many talented artisans to reflect the creative spirit of the region.

The Collections Café features many of Chihuly’s private artwork and projects. The menu shows a selection of fresh local food, and serves lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch. Admission to the exhibition is not required for dining at Collections Café.

A quote from Dale Chihuly: “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” At Chihuly Garden and Glass, he meets that challenge. From one breathtaking display to another, we were pleasantly overwhelmed with light and color, and gained a deep appreciation for Dale Chihuly and his great contribution to Seattle culture.

For hours, admission fees and driving directions, visit chihulygardenandglass.com
or call 206-905-2180.

8 thoughts on “A Thing of Beauty: Chihuly Garden and Glass

  1. Thank you, Mary, for a great article about Chihuly and his art work. We have been to the Stanwood site and also Tacoma Glass Museum, which is spectacular. It was a pleasant surprise to see his name in Fairbanks Alaska among the ice sculptors, and again in Harrison, B.C. among sand sculptors. One of his students said that when you create in one medium, you learn to appreciate creations in any medium.

  2. Partway up the Space Needle is a big room where my band, Swingnuts Jazz, was playing for a birthday party. The window near us looked out on the Chihuly Garden. I could see beautiful pure colors in exquisite shapes among the shrubs and plants. It was winter and I noticed a few unusual small trees with bright red trunks. I love red twig dogwood, but this wasn’t branchy enough.
    I finally realized what it was. Glass.
    After reading your description, Mary, I’m going to get a good close-up look.

  3. I love Chihuly’s work! In the late 90s I attended a large exhibit at the Joslin Art Museum in Omaha. They still have two of his really large pieces in the atrium, and I always enjoy seeing them when I go to the Joslin. Also, I was fortunate to tag along with a friend when she went to dog sit for a family with a pretty substantial Chihuly collection, so I was able to see some that would never be shown publicly. They are out of my price range I am sure!

    • Hi Brigid! Thank you for your comments. Yes, his work is pretty pricey, but, as you say, beautiful. Displays such as this bring so much to a community. We find his work here and there around the Seattle area. The Tacoma railway station has a nice display, too.

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