So, when I left off almost 2 months ago, Pet and I had just left the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio, and were headed back to the Pacific Science Center. Instead of going back to the Science Center, we went into a different building, thinking it was part of the Science Center.
There was a neat, modern glass building that I didn’t remember being there the last time we’d come to Seattle, which was 4 years earlier. We didn’t think much of it until we stepped inside. It didn’t look like the science museum, and all we initially saw was a ticket counter in front of us, and a gift shop to one side. So we went to the gift shop to ask what the museum was.
Turns out we were in a bookstore, not gift shop, and the building was Chihuly Garden and Glass. I didn’t know who Chihuly was when I walked in, to be honest. Thankfully, one of the women at the register was very helpful, and said the magic sentence, “Have you ever heard of the flower ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas?”
Not only had we heard of it, we walked under it several days in a row when we were in Las Vegas for mt 30th birthday. We stopped a couple times just to stare at it. It’s beautiful. I don’t have a photo, but if you follow that link above (it’ll open in a new window), it will show you a photo of it. It’s pretty famous.
Turns out Chihuly is Dale Chihuly, a Washington native, and the creator of the Fiori di Como at the Bellagio, and the name on the building. It was a museum devoted to his blown glass art.
I was sold. In case you’ve never browsed my blog, I love glass art, and I make kilnformed glass of my own. I don’t know how to blow glass yet, but I can work a torch and do kilnforming. so I love, love LOVE glass art.
I didn’t even have to ask Pet if we could go, she just headed to the ticket counter, and bought tickets for us. And in we went. There was only 1 rule: you may not touch ANYTHING.
But, we could take lots and lots of pictures, so I did. they’re not great, nothing I do can capture the beauty, but I tried. They’re full size, because if I compress them, theyr’e blurry, and that’s just a horrible thing to do to such beautiful glass.
After getting the “DON’T TOUCH” warning, we walked in, turned the corner, and got this. This is the Glass Forest, and it’s stunning. The room is dark, and then you get these tall, thin glass poles, lit from within with neon. Behind them is a series of mirrors, and so it really looks like it goes on forever. It’s phenomenal.
The next room is called the Northwest Room, and it’s full of not only the glass in the photo, but an entire wall, like 20 feet square, covered with beautiful blankets done in the Native American styles of the west coast. There were also woven baskets in addition the the glass. I wish I’d gotten a closeup of the intricate designs on the glass baskets and shapes, some are small squares with tiny dots, others are cross hatches marks, all made of glass. It was impressive.
but not as impressive as the next room, because when you turned around from the low table of these, you saw this:
This is a mammoth sculpture easily 15 feet tall, and nearly as wide. It’s called the Sea Tower, and it’s just unbelievable. I didn’t get a closeup of it, and I wish I had. The blow glass starfish and anemones and everything are just amazing. Each of those swirling pieces of green blue glass is textured with a lampshade pattern (the pleated kind), and then topped with a knob at the end. So it’s not bland, smooth glass or tapered points, there’s all kind of detail.
In addition to the Seat Tower, there were plenty of other smaller statues in the room. This one is kelp with crabs all over it, and it’s beautiful. It was on a pedestal, but I’m guessing the sculpture was at least 3 feel tall, and 18 inches across.
Here’s a closeup of one of the crab, on the back of the sculpture. The detail is amazing. I don’t know if that’s mica or gold leaf in the statue. Given Chihuly’s success, it could very well be gold powder, but I would be it’s more likely mica.
One neat thing about the Chihuly museum is they have photographers walking around offering complementary photographs. I managed to talk Pet into getting one. She HATES having her photo taken, and I always end up looking like a goofball, and this photo doesn’t do either of us justice. Also, keep in mind it was about 7pm, and we’d been running full throttle since about 8am that morning, including walking all over. So here it is, in all it’s questionable glory.
This room was one of my favorite places. It’s called the Persian Ceiling, and we must have spent 20 minutes in there. At some point, I just laid down on the ground to take photos. The best way to describe the Persian Ceiling, that I can do, is it’s kind of like a shadow box. You have the actual ceiling, and built below it, how deep I don’t know, is a clear plexiglass ceiling, and all the beautiful glass pieces are places between the real ceiling and the clear one. You can see in this photo where the plexiglass, or maybe it’s actual glass, splits. It’s on the right side of the photo.
In addition to flat glass pieces, or gently sloped bowl shapes, there were rods, swirls, and even a few cherubs.
This is my favorite piece in the Persian ceiling, the dark, almost monochromatic piece in the center. I don’t know how the herringbone pattern was done, but it’s beautiful. I love it. This photo also has what Pet and I were jokingly referring to as the dildo in it. Can you see it?
As much as I’d love to keep this post going, since it has full size photos in it, it’s getting big,. I don’t want it to take forever to load on most connections, so I’m cutting it off here. The good news? Part 6 has even more awesome photos, and it will be up in a day or two.