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Dale Chihuly: The Trailblazer

Dale Chihuly’s ideas are big ones, often stretching the limits of his chosen media. He loves a good challenge.

Over the years, Dale has developed a host of innovative techniques to achieve his artistic vision. He is keen to experiment and unafraid of failure. Whether attempting to make Macchia up to four feet in diameter or stretching the limits of glass for his Rotolo series, experimentation is an essential part of Dale’s creative process.


Letting Glass be the Guide

Traditional glass factory production was about symmetry and creating perfectly formed vessels. Dale’s work represents a departure from the past. He pioneered a new way of working, utilizing gravity and centrifugal force to let molten glass find its shape in its own organic way. Asymmetry and irregularity is a defining principle of his work.


Drawings Fused onto Glass

Dale began his career with weaving. During a weaving class at University of Washington, he first incorporated glass shards into woven tapestries in 1963. This foray into glass led him to blow his first glass bubble in 1965, by melting stained glass and using a metal pipe. Years later he revisited the idea of textiles and glass, drawing with intricate threads of glass, then fusing the threads onto molten glass. This pick-up drawing technique was used by Dale and his team in his Cylinders and other series.


Immersive Experiences

Uniting color, light, form, and space to deliver uniquely immersive experiences, Chihuly has completed ambitious architectural artwork installations all over the world. Inspired by a lifelong interest in architecture and gardens, Chihuly creates site-specific sculptures for a wide variety of settings, from public spaces and museums to private homes and gardens.


Public Exhibitions

Chihuly creates unexpected experiences in unlikely places. He has presented formidable and complex public exhibitions all over the world – from Venice, to Jerusalem, to Montreal. From 1994 to 1996, the artist worked with glassblowers in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Italy to create Chihuly Over Venice, a series of Chandeliers which he hung over canals and in piazzas of his favorite city. Four years later, Chihuly’s most ambitious public exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, was seen by more than one million visitors to the Tower of David Museum.

Squero di San Trovaso Chandelier, 1996, 10 x 4′, Venice