Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chihuly & Me

I've had a love affair with Dale Chihuly for quite some time now.  Well, maybe not with Dale himself, but with his work.

It all started when I was a little girl.  I fell in love with vintage glass.  I remember vividly my mom trying to make a special moment out of a weeknight making cinnamon toast and serving it on her grandmother's pink depression ware.  I was in AWE of the blush molded glass, it might have been "garbage dishes" earned with box tops when my great grandmother acquired it, but to me it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my wee little life.

I loved the way the light hit it, I loved the way it sparkled, I loved it's translucence, and it's fragility made it more precious somehow.

It was like a gateway drug.  And it lead to years of collecting depression ware, and ceramics, until it really became a bit of a "problem".  Especially as my cupboards began to fill and my husband began to grumble.  "Do we really NEED another set of glass candle holders??"  Yes, honey, we do.  We really do.

This gateway glass eventually lead to the more "hard core" stuff - like the work of Chihuly.  For those who don't know who he is, I highly recommend this brief youtube clip:

And what trip to Seattle would be complete without checking out hand blown art glass?  Not a very good trip, as far as I'm concerned!

We had planned to go to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma on our way home, but we couldn't help but peak through the bushes to see what we could of the Chihuly Gardens of Glass next to the Space Needle.

They pretty much only allow you to see glimpses of the enormous glass sculptures without buying a ticket.  But it's kind of hard to hide a 100 ft. column of sparkling yellow spikes.  Do you see that corner of a building to the right?  That's the Space Needle.  I see what you did there, Mr. Chihuly.  One column of light, right next to another.

 This one looked like big pink bubbles, almost like some sort of prehistoric plant, and with the large scale to match.

 Inside the glass building, more glass, of course.  From a distance I could tell that they were his famous "sea forms".

 And this one, oh man, I was so glad to get a picture of it!  In the foreground is another huge column with trumpet shaped red glass, and in the background is an even BIGGER sphere of squiggly glass!  In between was this fountain pool of water.

 I kept waiting for a giant glass humming bird to come and take a sip.

And then after seeing all this, we went to dinner.

*Do not skim past this next part!  It was so amazing I can't quite believe it happened!!!*

So Hubs had made reservations for us to eat at this swank Italian place that was a short walk from our hotel.  It was a small restaurant, very narrow shaped dining area with booths next to the windows and a row of tables along the other side.  We were sitting in a booth.

Towards the end of our meal, as we were waiting for our desert to arrive, two men came in and sat at a table about 10 feet away from us.  They looked pretty ordinary.

Our desert arrived, we ooh'd and aaaah'd over the yumminess.  And then suddenly Hubs stopped mid-sentence and said, "Oh my gosh, I think that's Chihuly!"

I looked over, and there he was!!!  Eye patch, crazy hair and all.  Dale Chihuly, close enough that I could have gotten up, taken one step, and jumped in his lap!

I think my heart stopped for a moment.

And then Hubs said, "Amy, look at his shoes!"  I did, they were black and splattered with colorful paint.  Oh my goodness, it really is him!

I decided to play it cool, and not approach him.  I mean, here he is trying to eat a meal with a friend, does he really need crazy fan girls going crazy all over him?  Did I say crazy enough times?  Because I felt kind of crazy, like I had no idea how to act, and that combo with trying to be dignified in the face of crazy fan feelings are not good!

I think I should probably mention here, that I'm kind of shy.  I get terrible stage fright, and I often feel like I'd rather disappear before embarrassing myself.

So we finished our desert, giggling like school children, and trying to act inconspicuous about it.

Our check came, and it was time to go.

I thought, oh man, now I'm going to have to get up and leave without tripping over my own shoes!

I got up, I glanced up at him one last time, and he looked up at ME!!  AAAAHHHH!!!!  Dale Chiluly LOOKED at me!!!

And then I turned, and didn't fall on my face on my way out the door.

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!!  THAT was DALE CHILULY!!!  It was REALLY HIM!!!




(Just in case you're reading this, Mr. Chiluly, Yup, that was me.  Hi!  I hope that I wasn't too obviously twitterpated over the sight of you and that you had a nice meal with your friend!)

And then we went back to the Pacific Science Center to see King Tut.  And look at Chiluly glass while all lit up at night.

I still can't believe that happened!!!


  1. Dale Chihuly's work is gorgeous! As I was looking at your photos and watching the video, I started thinking about the ceiling of Bellagio's hotel lobby in Las Vegas. A couple thousand colorful glass flower blossoms hang overhead. Turns out, the blossoms are one of Chihuly's pieces and it's called "Fiori Di Como." Neat! And it's so cool that you saw him at the restaurant!

  2. Great pictures! How crazy that you actually saw him AND he saw you! We were so lucky to have one of his exhibits here (in SLC) during the 2002 Olympics. It really is incredible work. If you ever are in SLC we still have one of his towers at Abravenal Hall where our symphony plays.

    Kristiina @ Typical House Cat

  3. Oh my goodness!! In the several times I've been to Seattle, and the needle, I NEVER KNEW ABOUT THIS PLACE. My tour guide of a husband has failed me...time for another Seattle trip!