Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All That Glitters Here is Glass

The red 'floral' is in fact a glass structure.

I am now in Seattle awaiting the arrival of the twins, and it was determined that an afternoon meeting up with an Intender friend was a safe bet, so my Intender buddy and I agreed upon the Seattle Center where the Space Needle and other entertainments are located... where we decided upon the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibits and ended up having lunch at the Collection Cafe which features a huge variety of things that Dale Chihuly has collected - everything from Mexican ashtrays to accordions. Plus the food was promised to be delicious, and it was, too.

Following are some of the incredible blown glass displays that are both inside and outside, some of which have been shown in other parts of the world at one time or another.

Neon gasses added make this a dramatic display of glass.
The artist's fascination with native American art is shown.

Formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design, Chihuly collaborated with James Carpenter in 1971 to do glass in botanical designs. Thus evolved the "Glass Forest" which shows the delicate lines of growing things. Once out in the Glass Garden you can see many shapes imitating nature and the botanical additions make the stroll underneath the Space Needle quite fascinating.

The second 'room' is called the Northwest Room as it demonstrates the influence of the native Americans pottery and weaving on the work of Chihuly, who was born in Washington. The shapes and colors of the glass displayed mimic those of the early potters and weavers, much like glass that might have been tossed against the Pacific shores and then polished by the finder, in some of the pieces.

There was so much to see and there were a lot of people standing and walking so that it was sometimes a distraction to focus on one area over another. This entire collection is much more than just a display of glass art, but shows how the artist grew in his understanding of the medium, and how he literally stretched both the boundaries of the glass and the ways it could be presented.
Here is a glass ceiling you might not want to break through!
Passing through the spaces there was a room (Persian Ceiling) devoted to glass as a ceiling -- I loved it! If ever I have a chance to build a space where light can enter from above, this is something I will do. Although this had commercial lighting above, I can imagine such a space where the changing light would be an advantage.

In the "Mille Fiori" room, the colors of the glass against the black walls and mirrored bases was so dramatic that one simply had to sit down and let all the colors wash over and through the eyes. There was some 50's music playing in the background which I found somewhat distracting, however. 

The name for the room comes from the Italian meaning 'thousands of flowers' inspired by the artist's mother's garden. First exhibited in 2003 at the Tacoma Art Museum, this display features many of the varieties of Chihuly's works. The techniques used relied more on gravity, fire and centrifugal force for this collection.
After the loss of sight in one eye and a shoulder problem, Chihuly turned more of his work over to the team and used his artistic drawings to convey his objectives. But in 1992, during a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, he determined that a space was missing something and he created what has become one of his most impressive series, the chandeliers. In 1995-96 in the Chihuly Over Venice presentation, he hung thirteen of them throughout the city with the final 14th juxtaposed with the Palazzo Ducale Tower's ancient one. Those shown here are either from that event or were inspired by it.

Green glass chandelier
Close-up of white chandelier
Red-orange glass chandelier

The Macchia Forest with four foot bowls of color!
Inside of one of the bowls in the Macchia Forest.
Hanging floral in glass inside the glass conservatory.
The "Macchia Forest" is a collection of huge bowls four feet in diameter utilizing all 300 colors of the hotshot. The variations in color are also achieved by rolling the molten glass in shards of colored glass while blowing it.

We took our break for lunch and then continued afterwards by going into the glass conservatory which houses an enormous floral display in glass suspended from the ceiling. You can see the Needle just outside.

I wanted to show you all the details of this incredible display but I have to leave room for your 'dessert' which is the garden outside.

Did you see the dark orbs that might be slick seals just under the log?
There was so much to see, and I took over 175 photos, but cannot possibly show them all here. I may post them to another site where you can see them, if interested, so if you are a follower, you will be notified of the link. I was so impressed with the landscaping being complimentary to the glass art.
Notice the colored tree bark and the flowers ...
Here, near the end are these precious flutes of blue, like some unearthly forest flower only waiting to offer up a scent that tricks the senses...
Near the exit, blue flutes on tall stalks...
There was more to be seen at this Center, but our eyes were satiated with all the colors and shapes so we opted to leave, but on the way out I saw this weird collection of colors and shapes from the IMAX building and other displays... it's another form of art, don't you think?
Metallic tiles create color on a Center building.

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