Dale Chihuly's 'Glass House' shines in Seattle

Sun May 20, 2012 1:56pm EDT
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By Jordan Riefe

(Reuters) - Pioneering glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose work has been shown in over 200 museums worldwide, will be honored in his home city Seattle when "Chihuly Garden and Glass" opens on Monday, offering the most comprehensive collection of his work ever.

Spanning one and a half acres in the shadow of the Space Needle, the show includes an exhibition hall, a garden and a "Glass House" structure by Chihuly, inspired by his two favorite buildings, Paris' Sainte-Chapelle and London's Crystal Palace.

"It's really the most important project I've ever done," Chihuly told Reuters about the exhibition he designed.

Inside "Glass House," visitors encounter a suspended sculpture 100-feet long, hovering overhead like an alien serpent. Composed of 1340 individual plates of red, orange, amber and yellow, it is one of Chihuly's largest installations.

"You look through it and you see the Space Needle behind it," he smiled. "Sunset, sunrise - and it's all in yellow, oranges and red."

In the garden just outside "Glass House" stands "Seattle Sun," a yellow and orange orb of countless curls and baubles spanning 16 ft. in diameter.

An exhibition hall houses eight galleries outlining the various phases of Chihuly's career, including his landmark work, "Glass Forest," as well as a "Sealife" room that gives the artist pause to remember how it was created in his mind.

"One piece I like a lot is the boat piece," said Chihuly about a rowboat in the room that is filled with ornaments of various shapes and colors. The idea for the piece came to him on a trip to Finland when he stood on a bridge and dropped glass baubles into a river to see if they would break.   Continued...

The Seattle Sun by artist Dale Chihuly is on display at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle, Washington, May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo