On Nov. 30th, world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly spoke about his artwork at the Spanos Theatre. Chihuly’s glassblowing exhibitions and chandeliers can be found in more than 200 museums around the world, including the Louvre. He is also one of the main contributors of the Studio Glass Movement.
“It’s amazing how you’re making something that no one has ever seen before,” said Chihuly.
Chihuly was born and raised in Tacoma, Wash. His father was a butcher and his mother worked in the garden. After the death of his brother and father, he went off the College of the Puget Sound and later University of Washington. He traveled to Alaska to be a fisherman for seven months in order to make some money. He also went to Venice to study glass, which became his favorite city.
In 1971, Chihuly founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. Now, the school has around 500 students every year, and it has more glass blowing than Venice.
During the event, Chihuly showed five 5-minute video segments on different projects he has worked on over the years; each segment was followed by question and answer sessions.
The first segment consisted of his project in Nuutajarvi, Finland in 1995. This project was centered on the river. It displayed the various chandeliers he and his team had created.
“I don’t decide until just before we start blowing what I want to make, and even then I might change my mind,” said Chihuly.
The second segment was from the 1996 project in Venice. This city was chosen for the water and elegant architecture. The third took place at Icicle Creek, two hours from Seattle. He had glass icicles made in Japan, designed for snow and wind. This project also consisted of a strip heater to melt snow when it was too cold. That weekend it snowed six feet, but the project survived through the winter.
“Not one of the 1,000 pieces broke,” said Chihuly.
The forth and fifth segments took place in Jerusalem because it is near the location where glass blowing was first invented. These are two of his most-known exhibitions. Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem was the first, which consisted of 14 installations with pieces of glass as high as 45ft tall within the Tower of David Museum. He later returned to Jerusalem to make Wall of Ice. With his team, he created a 6-foot wall with blocks of ice shipped from Alaska and highlighted with colorful lights.
Chihuly makes sure to give everyone credit that has helped him over the year. Everyone had a job and each was needed in order to complete every project.
Spanos Theatre was completely full more than ten minutes before the event started. Several people watched him speak from two small televisions while standing in the waiting room of Spanos.
“It’s amazing how many people showed up tonight,” agriculture business junior Elysse Reynolds said. “All the projects he did are beautiful and I didn’t realize how much work goes into each piece.”
Sophomore Kendal Logins added, “I really enjoyed it, but it was a bummer to wait in the lobby instead of actually seeing him.”
To see Chihuly’s work and more information about him, visit his Web site at www.chihuly.com.