Monday, January 27, 2014

Glass...and the colors within

Serendipity is when one accidentally finds something good when not specifically looking for it.  Such was the case one weekend during a visit to Seattle in December, 2013.  Walking around Seattle Center one cannot help but see several unique (and large) glass sculptures scattered near the base on the Space Needle, Seattle's iconic landmark.  At first I thought it was a tall tropical plant that was coated in ice.  After all, it was in the 20's during the day, despite the sun.  Like Dorothy following the Yellow Brick Road, we went from one to the next, each time filled with wonder at the color and shape, until we came to the door of the exhibit.  (Well...actually, it was the glass building with the low winter sun shining on the sculptures hanging from the ceiling that caught our attention.  The random outside art simply drew us further in.)

 The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum opened in 2012 next to the Space Needle, so its recent incarnation would explain why I wasn't familiar with it (although the Chihuly name is certainly familiar to most of us).  Dale Chihuly's forte is blown glass, though his use of color and the sheer size of some of his work is the stuff of legends.  Having only seen his work in print or on the screen, to be able to see it in person was the highlight of our trip. 

At left is a piece about 18 inches tall, and sitting on a pedestal so that one looks a little up to it.  The crabs look real...not at all of glass.
 At right is a room-height sculpture, looking every bit like a swarm of eels in an ocean (I suppose that's what one call it?  I think of a sculpture as having been carved, not blown).

On the left is a work on the ceiling.  Light comes through from above, creating a colorful passage under which one walks, bathed in color. 

Outside of the main museum is a glass-covered area that houses more displays.  What is stunning in this view (and of course so difficult to capture in a camera) is the play of sunlight through the glass sculptures hanging from the ceiling.  I suspect each day's light will dramatically change the effect one sees, from the changing angle of the sun to the filtered light of a cloudy day (which are more often in the Pacific Northwest than we care to admit!).

In a different rendering of light (and reflection), this is Seattle's iconic Space Needle reflected in the walls of a newer icon, the Experience Music museum located very near the Chiluly museum. 

For more information on the Chiluly Garden and Glass Museum, visit this site:

Links are below: