Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle
One place I don’t think I’d have considered going to without having it recommended to me is the Chihuly Garden and Glass gallery, right at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle. I’d heard a couple of mentions of it here at work, and also from people in the Seattle area. Although not as focused (I suppose) as the Chihuly museum in Tacoma (were Dale Chihuly is from), it is still a stunning showcase of his design and work.
Much of the time I like to visit museums rather than galleries – I always find the former to be more engaging and the latter to usually be aesthetically pleasing more than anything else. (On occasion I am wrong!) While there’s a little interpretive info in the Chihuly Garden & Glass gallery, mostly you are there to walk among the stunning pieces and to be dazzled. I audibly gasped at many of the pieces. Inside the gallery, bold colours & shapes along with dramatic lighting create an intense experience.
Those sea-creature-esque bowls in one of the last rooms before the garden were possibly my favourite thing. So delicate and rich with pigment. The way they were displayed around the edge of the room like some sort of coral reef was gorgeous. Of course, there were many beautiful and seemingly impossible pieces inside – on the way out, these pieces in the walkway above floated, but I don’t know how the weight was supported!
It is hard to believe how someone could dream these things up, let alone make them! Out in the courtyard/cafe, they have glass blowing demonstrations that gives you an idea of the difficulty and time involved. (It seems like quite a bit! But fascinating to watch.)
I also enjoyed seeing these pieces, design ideas/sketches for glass art from Chihuly:
The more external pieces are equally as stunning in daylight, rather than the spotlights of the gallery. The way every piece is integrated into structures or to the gardens is masterful, and it’s so refreshing to see art presented in this way. I haven’t ever before been so impressed by presentation of installations like this, nor by glass art itself.
I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Seattle. I had a ticket as part of my Seattle CityPass, and you can also buy combined tickets with the Space Needle, which makes sense given the proximity! Find out about visiting here.