A couple of weeks ago James and I went to the Dallas Arboretum and saw the Chihuly installations that are on exhibit right now. They were absolutely beautiful, and you know I have some pictures to share with you as well. First, I thought it would be fun to find out some information on this phenomenal artist.
Dale Chihuly was first introduced to glass at the University of Washington. After graduating from the University of Washington, Chihuly enrolled in the countries first glass program at the University of Wisconsin. After this he studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he initiated a glass program and taught for more than ten years. Chihuly worked at the Venini glass factory in Venice, where he saw an approach to glass blowing that is intrigal to the way he works today.
Seen in the Cissy Thomsen Welcoming Water Wall, Blue Icicles
In 1996, Chihuly developed an element for is Icicle Creek Chandelier that he hoped could withstand the snowy winters and hot summers of central Washington. The resulting icicle form, both beautiful and sturdy, has become a favorite of the artist’s in a number of outdoor installations since then. One icicle part in your hand is remarkably heavy. Wherever they are placed outdoors, and no matter what the color–they add a startling visual punch. Here at the Arboretum, clear, turquoise and cobalt icicles reflect Texas sunlight in dramatic fashion. (Audio)
Seen in Red Maple Rill Blue Polyvitro Crystals, Chihuly may have had the ancient stones of the old fortress in Jerusalem in mind when he developed the idea of using large crystals as a form for outdoor sculptures. The first solidly cast plastic crystals were taken from molds of cullet—broken chunks of glass retrieved from the bottom of a furnace. Polyvitro crystals were first used on the Crystal Mountain in the exhibition Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999). The term Polyvitro was coined by Chihuly as a name for the material for all his projects made of plastic. By 2005 the same large blue crystals were floated in lakes and ponds as part of Chihuly’s garden exhibitions. (Audio)
Seen in Crape Myrtle Allee, Dallas Star
if there was ever a sculpture with a dramatic burst of energy, this may be it. The artist repeats one icicle shape hundreds of times to visually explode this sphere. The movement is in the color: the energy of the deep cobalt blue of the core is quickly released by the clear glass of the outer sphere. Energy is a characteristic found in all of Chihuly’s artwork. When asked about the way he works he answered, “Quick and immediate and spontaneous, with an element of chance.” And asked about where ideas come from him said: The only explanation I’m ever able to give about where things come from is “energy.” That has to come out in one way or another. Sometimes it’s more destructive; sometimes it’s more beautiful, sometimes more creative. Energy can go in so many directions, and you have to harness it. Correction! You don’t harness it, you use it. You put it to good use! (Audio)
These boats were my favorite. They seemed to spark the imagination of everyone who stopped by A Woman’s Garden, Float Boat and Carnival Boat
Chihuly first filled boats with his glass elements in Nuutajärvi, Finland during the Chihuly over Venice project in June 1995. After several days of glass blowing in the hot shop, the team made temporary installations along the Nuutajoki, the river nearby. Chihuly then filled it with Chandelier parts and other glass forms that were blown during the Finland trip. (Audio) The colors were truly amazing against the artificially dark water, in the bright Texas sun.
Seen in Jonsson Color Garden Yellow Icicle Tower
The Yellow Icicle Tower shoots up 30 feet and is a perfect example of Chihuly’s desire to mass color for dramatic effect. The combined elements create what Chihuly once described as, “a core of color.” Among the things for which Chihuly is most known for are his monumental blown glass sculptures. (Audio) This Lemon Yellow tower could be seen from across the Jonsson Color Garden.
If you have the time, it is well worth the drive to see the Chihuly Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum.