Marcia Strykowski

The Glass City

reload-chihuly-glass-5-copyAre you familiar with world-renowned Dale Chihuly’s amazing work? I was first introduced to his glass wonders five years ago during the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s magnificent Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass exhibit. chihully mfa comboAt that time, the MFA bought a permanent addition to their collection—an icicle tower that stands over 42 feet high. It is made of blown glass and steel. Take a stroll through the museum’s courtyard—you can’t miss this lime-green beauty.

IMG_4881 Dale Chihuly May 2012 CREDITA quotation from Dale’s website gives insight as to why this extremely talented Washington native does what he does: “Glass has the ability, more than any other material, to bring joy and a certain happiness to people.” And he is doing just that with exhibits around the world.

Recently I was fortunate to be in Seattle where my daughter was receiving a diploma. By chance, a long-time friend would also be in Seattle on business…in the same hotel!

When she suggested we squeeze in a visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a somewhat permanent exhibition since 2012, it was the perfect opportunity to experience one of Seattle’s top attractions.reload-chihuly-glass-2-copyEach time we stepped into the next gallery, a new breathtaking display was in view. The boats in the next picture sat on a solid sheet of black glass. The effect was so perfect and smooth, I almost touched the surface to make sure it wasn’t really water.reload-chihuly-glass-4-copyHere’s another quote from his website: “Glass itself is so much like water. If you let it go on its own, it almost ends up looking like something that came from the sea.”reload-chihuly-glass-3-copyThe Persian Ceiling is one of many highlights. The below photograph was taken while looking up at a small section of the impressive ceiling above us.reload-chihuly-glass-copyAfter gliding through the vibrant galleries, we entered the glass house. It was a cloudy day, but if you’re interested, you’ll find much better pictures of this expansive room on the Chihuly Garden and Glass website.reload-chihuly-glass-6-copyAfter the glass house, we moved on to the beautiful gardens.reload-chihuly-glass-garden-colorchihuly glass three 2 - CopyFrom the beginning, we knew the Emerald City might just as well be called the Glass City. Even the airport had an exhibit of  glass sculptures inspired by children’s artwork. Our hotel was filled with Chihuly works, including photo books and poster-size prints of his designs in each room. One day, while looking at one of his glass-encased drawings on our wall, I discovered my daughter’s reflection was sitting inside the picture.reload-chihully-combo-copyFeeling all inspired and creative, I kept my back to her and snapped several shots as she got comfortable on the window seat way over on the other side of the room.
To elaborate on the Glass City theme, here are a few photographs taken at Glasshouse Studio which we discovered in Pioneer Square. Going strong since 1971, this place is the oldest glassblowing studio in the northwest.glass studioDSC00607DSC00608I don’t know about you, but all this bright creativity makes me want to learn to work with glass. Although, I have a feeling it’s even harder than it looks…

56 Comments

  1. Colleen

    What terrific photos, Marcia! They look other-worldly. What a treat for you to meet up with your friend and see all of that fantastic glass-work!

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    • Thanks, Colleen. I can’t even fathom how Chihuly accomplishes his gorgeous work, and on such a grand scale!

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  2. I ADORE Chilhuly’s work! I’ve seen the piece at the MFA as well as his installation at the Bellagio in Las Vegas… the first time I saw his work, tears flowed from my eyes with the beauty! Trust me, it is worth the trip to Vegas to see the installation. There was a traveling exhibit that came to Chattanooga a few years ago and I went several times… every time I saw something new in each piece. So glad you were able to enjoy it!

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    • Interesting, Joyce. I’ll have to look up the Bellagio. We watched several short videos at the museum, including one from Italy, and it’s quite fascinating to watch Chihuly’s process of setting up exhibits. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. Michele

    Marcia, I loved seeing the photos! I was not familiar with his work, so thanks for sharing this.

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    • Hi Michele, happy to share these beautiful works of art with you. 🙂

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  4. I love his work, too. I think I first saw it in Minneapolis in the late 1990s.

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  5. That was most enjoyable.

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  6. Wow! What amazing colours!

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    • So bright and shiny. He seems to like a lot of orange, but I believe I read his favorite color is turquoise.

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  7. I’ve not seen his beautiful work Marcia–until now. thanks. My favorite was the red-orange-yellow “sea creature.” Amazing. And so glad you got to spend the time with your daughter!! a big congratulations to her!!

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    • I like the sea creatures, too, and I was very happy to be there with my daughter. Now that she’s completed all her exams, she’s officially a Casualty Actuarial Society Fellow!

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      • Wow– that sounds impressive! (and beyond my acquaintance!) — It’s for her career goals, right? Well, I’m sure she loved having you help her celebrate!! I love time with my girls just about more than anything!! Happy weekend ahead! xo

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  8. It’s fascinating. Glass is a lot like water. And how cool to have caught your daughter’s reflection in one of the pieces. (Congratulations to her on the diploma, too!) As for taking up making glass, go for it, Marcia. More difficult or not, I’m sure it’ll make you very happy. And that’s reason enough.

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  9. What a wonderful blog post. Thank you! I was blessed to see an exhibit about 16 years ago, phenomenal!

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    • I wonder how many changes have come to the exhibits in 16 years–seems like he’s always coming up with new ideas. I’m glad you got to experience his work.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a wonderful work !! I like the gardens very much !
    Thanks for these pictures.

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    • Hi, Maryse! I think my favorite area might be the gardens, too. Each section seemed to have a theme and the flowers were beautiful, as well.

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  11. Hello Marcia, I’m not at all familiar with Dale Chihuly’s work, but it looks like something out of a fairy story. The glass house ceiling reminded me of a book I was once asked to find. I couldn’t work out what the story was from the clues I was given but some of my blog readers did. One particular sentence sprang to mind when I looked at your photographs “Ben could no longer see the roof for red, gold, yellow and orange flowers.” The story in question is The Nasturtiums that were too proud for their boots and the glass ‘flowers’ on the ceiling look just like Nasturtiums to me.
    This is a lovely post, thank you for sharing it.

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    • Ha, out of curiosity I put in the book title you mentioned and up popped your 2012 post as the first hit. Now I see why that title was so tricky to find. I’m happy you enjoyed my pictures!

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      • I’m happy to accept first place, thanks for telling me. I don’t think it happens very often! 😉

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  12. I have seen his work in Las Vegas and, I’m fairly sure, at least one other place which I can’t remember. However, I might be confused by the number of blogposts I’ve read of which this is by far the most spectacular. Love it!

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    • Thanks, Anabel! I’ve never been to Vegas and wherever else he exhibits, glad you got to see his work.

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  13. Louise Pryor

    I’ve seen Chulihy’s work in several places, but the most impressive was the first time I saw one of his “gardens”: in Kew Garden in London. The glass flowers were scattered all over the immense Kew Garden–among the real flowers and other plants. It was like a fairyland! I don’t know if I was so impressed because it was the first time I’d seen his work, or if it really was the best exhibit, but I’ve never forgotten it. Thanks for reminding me of this spectacular artist, Marcia!

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    • Oh, that must have been beautiful. I wonder if it was a temporary exhibit. I visited Kew Garden in 2009, but I don’t remember seeing anything like that–sounds magical!

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  14. It boggles my mind what can be done w/glass. Gorgeous pictures!

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    • Whoever first invented glassblowing would never believe how far the art has gone.

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  15. I love Dale Chihuly’s work. Lucky you to visit his galleries. My favourite is the Glass House. Great pictures.

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    • The Glass House is beautiful! I’m not sure if it’s available for private functions, but it would be a great place for a wedding.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Congrats to your daughter! And the exhibit looks beautiful! There is something happy about all that colorful glass!

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  17. I love getting a tour of what’s just a ferry ride away for me! Thanks. Wonderful photos and commentary, as always. Did you get up in Seattle’s Great Wheel?

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    • Not the wheel, but I saw it and did go to the top of the Space Needle. Time was limited or else I would have loved to take a ferry over to the islands. Every time I heard someone mention Bainbridge, my ears would perk up!

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  18. Marcia, this must have been incredible to have seen so many Chihuly art glass sculptures. The first time I saw one, the focal point of the center of the National Liberty Museum in historic Philadelphia, I was thunderstruck. You have to see his art to truly appreciate how magnificent it is. I love your story and all your photos. -Jennie-

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    • There is something special about seeing the original work on display, each piece perfectly placed and designed for the room. Thanks, Jennie!

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  19. Bette Norton

    I went to a Chihuly Exhibition at the MFA in Boston a few years ago and I was blown away! He is an amazing artist with physical limited eye vision, but his vision in seeing glass as water from the sea is truly amazing! His work is so creative and beautiful with such vibrant colors! What a treat for you and your daughter to go see this “glass city” in person. This is on my bucket list! I love the picture of the reflection of your daughter in the Chihuly in your room. Congratulations to your daughter! You must be so proud of her! A beautiful colorful post! Thank you for sharing with us! 🙂

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    • Glad you got to see the MFA exhibit. Chihuly lost his vision in one eye in a car accident in 1976 and now supervises a team to create his sculptures rather than risking further injury. Thanks for your comment!

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  20. Hi dear! I love your blog and would like to nominate you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Hope you’ll pass the love on! 🙂
    https://livethesan.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

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    • Thanks so much, Rebekah! It may take a while to follow through, but I do appreciate the nomination!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Amazing! Love all the photos. I think I’ve seen his work in a hotel I stayed at. Maybe Las Vegas? Truly stunning.

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    • He’s quite the entrepreneur, really knows how to market his work to the world (that and word of mouth).

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  22. Fantastic! I saw his work at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens a couple of years ago.

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    • Chihuly pieces seem to be everywhere, a great addition to public gardens.

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  23. Captivating beautiful photos! Waw! What a lovely day out! Fun!

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    • It was a nice day out with plenty of time to see other things, as well (plus there is a fun gift shop at the Chihuly place). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Rosemary Krol

    Great post Marcia and I love the pictures. I was also at that exhibit at the MFA and later received glass blowing classes as a birthday gift. It is very hard but I loved doing it. I still have all the little glass items I made at the class. Thanks for sharing, his exhibits are just so spectacular.

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    • I wonder if we passed by each other at the exhibit, since I didn’t know you then…And how wonderful that you’ve tried glassblowing! It does look very difficult to do. With all those flaming torches and sharp edges, I would think it easy to mess up. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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  25. Ashley

    This is awesome. Thanks for another awesome post filled with beautiful pictures and things that are knew to me!!

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  26. Thank you for introducing me to Chihuly’s works. They are amazing. He is so creative and has such a wonderful sense of design.

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