Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dale Chihuly: A Glass Sculpture Master

Budding Artists has a treat in store for the kids this week! We will be featuring glass sculptor Dale Chihuly this weekend at our Master's Series Children's Art workshop at the London Farmer's Market on Saturday, March 24th at 10am and 1pm. This extraordinary artist has captured the interest of not only the glass blowing community, but also a vast market of crafters and artisans worldwide.

Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington on September 20th, 1941. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design from the University of Washington in 1965, then went on to study sculpture with Harvey Littleton at the University of Wisconsin. By 1968, he had received the Fulbright Fellowship, which allowed him to study glass blowing in Venice, Italy and to further attain his Master of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. These were significant milestones in a career that was about to explode.

In 1969, Chihuly developed the Glass Department at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he subsequently taught until 1983. He also took his interest and the skills that he had learned along the way and opened the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington in 1971, with the help of John and Anne Hauberg. It was there that he further developed the art of team glass blowing on larger scale pieces, that would stand him in good stead in the years to come.

Persian Chandelier 
Working with a team became a career-saving move after Chihuly was in a serious accident in 1976 that resulted in the lose of sight in his left eye. He had to relinquish the chief glassblower position, but this left him with more time to develop his forms and the various series that he created. Over the years, those series included his Seaform, Macchia, Persian, Venetian and Ikebana series, but he was known to return to certain series at later points.

Float Triptych Drawing 
A bodysurfing injury in 1979 meant that he had to step away from the gaffer position entirely, but he relished the role of supervisor, director and problem solver in a way that he hadn't anticipated. It was at this point that he also began drawing to illustrate how he wanted his pieces to turn out.

The apparent physical setbacks did not slow Chihuly down in the least. Over the years he has had exhibitions all over the world, both indoors and out. Museums across the United States and Canada hold permanent collections of his work, as well as museums in England, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. He has received eleven honorary doctorates, as well as numerous awards. And he hasn't slowed down one bit, with ongoing exhibitions across the US, new exhibitions planned for later this year, as well as the exciting grand opening of the Chihuly Garden and Glass this coming Spring in Seattle, Washington.

To truly appreciate the breadth and depth of Chihuly's skill though, you need to see it. The following video gives a better idea of the scope of his work, as well as words from this Master Artist himself. Enjoy and don't forget to register your children for the Budding Artists Kids Workshop this weekend!



  1. I love this guy's work. I've seen some in London and they are just magical.

    PS. You might get more comments if you took off the word verification!

    1. @MorningAJ: They are pretty special, aren't they?
      And thanks for commenting, regardless of the extra step of a verification. We appreciate it! Come back again soon.