Tag Archives: glass

Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass

I recently visited Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibition, garden and theater showcasing the life’s work of Dale Chihuly.

chihuly glass and space needle

The exhibit is new to the Seattle Center. It’s a permanent collection housed in a new building under the Space Needle–and it’s worth a visit. I was impressed with the size of the collection and with the variety of styles.

When I see a chandelier like these (Beneroya Hall has a couple, and there’s one in the foyer of Lincoln Center in Bellevue), I recognize it immediately as a Chihuly. I was lucky to see many of these pieces at the exhibit, and I got to see a film about how they’re made.

The neutral vessels in one room were delicate and subdued compared to what I imagine a Chihuly to be. They fit in perfectly with woven baskets.

The glass garden was a sight to behold. Chihuly’s work is organic and imperfect. These pictures can’t show the scale. The glass balls were about three feet high!

This breath-taking display was also larger than life. In the film about Chihuly, I saw him and his staff throwing similar floats into the water. Amazing! Floats were originally made to keep fishing nets afloat, so I know they must be durable. Still, it seemed so reckless. Great fun though. The beautiful floats in the film were sent downstream for an art installation on a small island and under a bridge.

boat and floats

Chihuly’s work fits into the natural environment and that’s probably why the glass garden was so mesmerizing. It was hard to separate the artificial from the living. In summer, this garden will be stunning!

I got to walk around Chihuly’s work, and even under it. The glasswork in the ceiling cast colorful shadows. I saw a similar installation in Tacoma, where a glass bridge welcomes visitors to the Museum of Glass.

Similar vessels were on display in a room where I got up close and could appreciate the variations in the glass colors and patterns.

I’ve taken a couple of glass-blowing classes and I have a true appreciation for the art and craft of glass art. It’s an amazing combination of creativity, physical labor and chemistry.

Jean at the museum

Have you been to a glass museum? I highly recommend Chihuly Garden and Glass if you’re ever in Seattle.


Filed under Art, Events

Visiting the Glass Pumpkin Patch

Every fall, dozens of glassblowers from the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio create hundreds of glass pumpkins for a travelling show called the Northwest Glass Pumpkin Patch. Each handmade pumpkin is signed by the artist and is sold at various locations around the Puget Sound. I’d never been, and the show was coming to Bellevue, so I popped by the Northwest Arts Center and checked it out.


The exhibit consisted of only two small rooms, but they were packed with pumpkins. And people were picking them! Visitors had their baskets filled with glass orbs, which ranged from $35 for the wee ones to well into the hundreds for a basketball-sized one.

fall colors

There were a lot of orange pumpkins, but to my surprise, there were other colors too. Something for everyone.

different colors

I watched a video about how the gourds are made. It’s a really neat process and it takes teamwork. Two glass blowers work together to heat the glass, blow the shape while spinning the orb, and intricately fashion a stem from a taffy-like string of hot glass. It’s amazing to think that the glass is so hot it turned to liquid.

yellow and cream

The show hits two more cities before it ends, so if you’re in the area, check it out. I’ve heard about similar events in other areas. If picking hand-blown glass pumpkins sounds like a warmer, less muddy way to get in the Halloween spirit, go online and find a patch near you.


Filed under Art, Decor