Friday, October 7, 2016

*Glass wizard Dale Chihuly's 'Garden and Glass' is magical offering of Seattle master's talents

Chihuly's "Glasshouse" is a 40-foot tall glass and steel structure holding the exhibit, which includes this homage
to sea life -- complete with coral, ferns and the underwater life one might see on a scuba dive or snorkel adventure.


Chihuly's glasswork is both inside and out in Seattle; here flamingo-like
shapes seem to preen and sunbathe amongst well-coordinated flowers.

I FIRST DISCOVERED the magic of Dale Chihuly's glass creations at the Desert Botanial Garden during my Phoenix, Arizona, years.
His freeblown and functional glass work delights and intrigues, celebrating color, honoring life.
Some of his lush shapes seem to spill out, encouraging touch.
(It is not allowed, understandably, to do so.)
So we couldn't spend nearly a week in Seattle without visiting this Tacoma hometown boy's "Chihuly Garden and Glass."
WE HAD our favorite CityPASS ticket booklets, a great way to see a great city, saving both time and money.  We were delighted to move quickly into the gallery.
Cookie takes in Chihuly's magic.
Dale Chihuly's "Glasshouse" presents
his magnificent artwork in Seattle Center.
The exciting exhibition, in the shadow of Seattle's iconic Space Needle, is a wondrous collection of a few of his finest indoor and outdoor works.  Staged in the booming Seattle Center, inside and surrounding a towering glass and steel building, Chihuly's show enchants with its lovely play of light and color, his sense of whimsy and the voluptuous nature of his compositions.
Keller photographs this glass "flower."
HIS ELABORATE installations seem to be alive.  They climb up walls, float from the ceiling, flow onto the floors and surround the viewer with the artist's sense of wonder and gratitude.
It's obvious that Chihuly enjoys his life, appreciates the wonders of nature and celebrates his presence on the planet with every piece he creates. His installations are a marvel to behold.
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Chihuly studied in Wisconsin and received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a time and nurtured a fondness for Italy -- known for its magnificent glass creations. His work is influenced by his time there, studying renowned glassblowers, taking workshops.  Back in the U.S. in 1971, he founded the famed Pilchuck Glass School. Living in primitive conditions, with two other teachers and 16 students, the artful commune built glass furnaces and began blowing glass.
THE BEAUTY and grace of Chihuly's work is influenced by his time in Florence and Venice, where he studied with the masters of the famed Burano glass.
No, this is NOT a Chihuly piece. We included it because
this creation is in Burano, Italy, where he studied.
Artist Dale Chihuly is known for his graceful glass sculpture.
Here, he inspects his own showing in Seattle
In 1976, while visiting England, Chihuly was involved in a head-on car accident and flew through the windshield. His was blinded in his left eye but, after recovering, continued to blow glass until he dislocated his right shoulder in a 1979 bodysurfing accident.
He is still at the center of the action, with a studio on the water in Seattle, and his work displayed from the British Isles to South America and Australia.  Most major U.S. cities have hosted a Chihuly exhibit -- usually in a botanical garden.  I've seen his work in Toronto and Oklahoma City, and in my home of Scottsdale, Ariz., where -- as in Seattle -- we heard kudos for the master in multiple languages.
Boston, Atlanta and many other cities around the globe have borrowed his masterworks to entertain audiences, sharing Chihuly's daring and invention worldwide. His fondness for the desert has brought him and his work back to Phoenix several times.
His chandeliers often sell for six figures, and he is valued now at about $10 million -- not bad for spending nearly a half-century doing something he clearly loves.

 If you're in Seattle, don't miss it.
At night, the place lights up for an extra dimension of wonderment. Consider CityPass, which gets you here and to many other venues on and off the water, at bargain prices:  Click here to book CityPASS

The beloved Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C., welcome then enchant
visitors from all over the world.  Here, a zennia and dahlia garden delights.
NEXT UP:  Another garden, this one in Victoria, B.C., awaits.  This time, the flowers are real, though. Butchart Gardens welcomes us -- and you -- with 50 acres of floral finery and spectacularly kept displays.  Japanese, Italian and English gardens are all beautifully maintained by a staff of 50 greenhouse and grounds
workers, and a full-time administrative staff. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each weekend, when we move around the globe in search of nature-and-arts driven travel.

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