“Chihuly: Celebrating Nature” at Franklin Park Conservatory
“Anemones and Niijima Floats” can be found at Annie’s Koi Pond. Artwork © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.
I want my work to appear like it came from nature. So that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.
Stunning glass artwork by Dale Chihuly is being featured at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. The vibrant colors make this exhibition glow from within.
Select pieces of Chihuly have been exhibited at Franklin Park since 2003 when they were honored to be the second botanical garden in the world to host an exhibition by Dale Chihuly. This time they are excited to be able to exhibit their full collection and several pieces on loan, the largest Chihuly collection in a botanical garden.
These breathtaking pieces can be found in the Conservatory’s botanical gardens and courtyards. Most of his pieces are inspired and named for objects in nature. In the Pacific Island Water Garden, you can find that awesome Sunset Chandelier.
Chihuly has been interested in glass since childhood walks on the beaches of Puget Sound where he found little pieces of broken bottles and Japanese floats. However, it wasn’t until he was a student at The University of Washington that he decided to weave some small pieces of glass into his tapestries.
A few years later, he melted some glass in an oven and blew his first glass bubble. At that moment, this artist decided to be a glassblower. Over the years he has experimented with many old and new techniques to create artistic creations beyond the normal bounds of function and beauty.
This creator of unusual glass artwork still makes his home in Seattle where he and his wife, Leslie, take art to places that might not normally see it. They have formed the Leslie and Dale Chihuly Foundation which works with veterans, teenagers, and seniors. The foundation also gives grants each year to two Washington state innovative artists.
Glass is the most magical of all materials and is one of the few materials that light can pass through easily. Chihuly was attracted by the way even a small glass opening creates a beautiful object. Color doesn’t seem to matter as he said, “I’ve never met a color I didn’t like.”
Since an auto accident in 1976 where he lost his left eye, Chihuly has not blown glass himself but oversees a team of skilled glassblowers. He likens himself to the director of a movie or an architect overseeing the project these days. But his mark is still left behind on the productions. Traditional glass factories create perfectly formed vessels while Chihuly lets the glass take its own shape, and irregularity is prevalent.
Because of interest in glasshouses, his exhibitions have found their way into many botanical garden settings around the world. This outstanding blown glass has been seen from Venice to Jerusalem and Montreal.
From 1994 to 1996, the artist worked with glassblowers in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Italy to create “Chihuly Over Venice” – a series of fifteen Chandeliers which he hung over canals and in piazzas of Venice, one of his favorite cities.
Four years later, his largest public exhibition, “Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem, 2000” was viewed by over a million visitors at the Tower of David Museum. His creations can be found in over two hundred museums around the world.
Like many artists, when asked about plans for the future, his response is, “If I knew what was to be created next, I would already have done it.”
He does encourage young artists to surround themselves with artists and see as much art as possible. “Create something that nobody has ever seen before.” That’s something that Chihuly has become an expert at doing.
The full Chihuly: Celebrating Nature will be at Franklin Park Conservatory until March 29. Don’t miss this chance to see beautiful and unique glass creations that are sure to please and surprise you.
“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in some way that they’ve never experienced.” ~Chihuly
Franklin Park Conservatory is in Columbus, Ohio at 1777 E. Broad Street. They have exciting things happening all year long. Pictures in this post were taken by Gypsy Bev and were then approved for publication by Dale Chihuly.