It's perhaps not a marbled Palace of the Venetian Grand
Canal, although the setting is certainly aqueous enough,
nevertheless there is an Emperor in Seattle and he really
does live the life of an Italian master of the arts. Indeed
he trained in Italy at the Venini Factory and the influences
he found there have never left him.
Dale Chihuly (born in Tacoma, 1941) and founder of the
Pilchuck Glass School, is probably the greatest showman
of the "glassworld'. His brilliantly colourful work is treasured
the world over and his events draw huge crowds.
In 2002 the garden display in Garfield Park, Chicago was
immensely popular and the Chihuly at the V&A in London drew
A recent work, the $12-million Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass
in Tacoma, WA, is unique. A glass ceiling of seaform pieces
welcome you, leading to a wall of his Venetian vases with
110 pieces straddling the highway. 12 metre towers of blue
glass ice-crystals rise over the bridge leading to the new
Arthur Erickson designed Museum of Glass on Dock Row.
Now there is the new 'Garden of Glass (Mille Firoi)' at
the Tacoma Art Museum on Pacific Avenue - a major feature
of the new $63 million dollar museum.
The Barnum of glass lives as flamboyantly as his glass
designs in a vast, former boathouse, which serves as a working
studio/home under a bridge in Seattle. It sports an 25.5
metre dining table (a complete tree in fact), suspended
over which are his amazing Venetian chandeliers.
Just Half the amazing indoor pool
Organic Glass Art by Dale Chihuly
There's also a 30 metre mirror lined swimming pool where
you swim over submerged Chihuly "seaforms' tropical flora
glass. The hot glass studio is fascinating and teams, under
guest glass artists or Chihuly himself, interpret the astonishingly
vibrant inspirational paintings that Dale creates (collectors
items on their own) using them as the template for his varied
The output is prolific and Chihuly glass design is always
evolving. Witness the Macchias, a vivid organic influence
is always at the root of his work; this glass wants to live.
One of the organic range of vases The boathouse sports a
sunken guest bedroom that faces out onto the water, at boat
level and in the bathroom, there's sunken Chihuly "seaforms'
under the transparent bath. At the touch of a button the
window turns opaque in case you're bashful.
The kitchen and indeed the entire boathouse is decorated
in 19th century tinplate metallic grey and gives it an authentic
touch, but then again, if you have ever seen "A Man with
Two Brains' you'll also appreciate Dale Chihuly's sense
of fun. Chihuly Macchias Display: Come and see them at
The Diane Farris Gallery1590
West 7th Ave, Vancouver BC V5Y 1L4 dianefarrisgallery.com