That is the introduction to the new Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. From beginning to end it takes the spirit of creativity and flings it to the heavens. The colors, the shapes, the arrangements, the mixed media, the lighting—all amazing.
The first exhibit gives you the sheer magic of Dale Chihuly. His glass replicates Native American basketry but his uniqueness is in how he blows a small basket inside of a large one.
From there you enter several rooms, each with hundreds of glass pieces rising from a black mirror floor. The rooms replicate gardens, forests, or sea life, all flowing from Chihuly’s bold imagination. I walked around each display twice, trying to take it all in.
There is a hall of chandeliers, with Chihuly’s signature brilliant colors, massive structures, and flamboyant style—curly pieces of glass jutting out from a central stem. His chandeliers are recognizable around the world: the Tower of the David Museum in Jerusalem, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, just to name a few venues.
Several years ago I had my aura read and was told to put more red, yellow and orange in my life. So you can imagine how much energy I felt when I entered the Glasshouse to find red, yellow, and orange, flowers in a serpentine arrangement suspended from the ceiling. If you have ever seen the Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, you’ll know what I mean.
Sometimes people decorate their gardens with a piece of art glass on a rod. They should see Chihuly’s garden. Glass mixed with beautiful landscaping. Round purple flowers mingling with purple stalks of glass. A Japanese maple shading glass flowers. Fuchsias and lilies blended with glass reeds. For a beautiful moment he makes you believe the glass is growing from the earth.
A series of short videos fill in background information. What I took away from them is the freedom with which Chihuly works. Now blind in one eye, he uses a team to create his sculptures. He sketches out a concept and they experiment. “Try this. . . try that,” you hear him say.
My take-away was a lesson in confidence. He doesn’t know exactly how a piece will come out, but he experiments, believing that something great is in the works. We should all be so courageous.
For people on the East Coast, Chihuly has a temporary exhibit in Richmond at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. My travel buddies just Facebooked me all about how much they enjoyed it.
Chihuly’s desire is to blend glass and nature. It’s fun to go and see how he makes it all work.