Glass sculptures in brilliant colors and unbelievable shapes dazzle at the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum in Seattle. The long-term exhibition which has been open since 2012, features eight galleries and a garden where the glass sculptures rival the flowers and lush greenery for attention.
While I had been lucky to see their Glassworks exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum, seeing the colorful orbs, gigantic glass sculptures and the vibrant amber, red & yellow glass flowers frame the Seattle Space Needle was one of the highlights of my visit Girls trips to Seattle!
About Dale Chihuly
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. With his work in the medium, the Museum of Glass Seattle, and the development of his international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide including the DMA in Dallas.
One of his greatest installations was Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice. What a sight it must have been to see his work in Venice!
Here are a “few” photos from my visit! Hope you enjoy this virtual tour of Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum.
The Centerpiece of the Glass Museum
The Glasshouse is the centerpiece of the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum! The glass and steel structure is 100-foot long, one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. The epic sculpture is comprised of individual elements of red, orange, yellow, and amber, resembling flowers or maybe corals. One of the reasons glass is such a beautiful medium is because of how it reflects light and Dale Chihuly’s use of a wide range of colors makes them just so much more stunning.
The glass structure that contains the massive sculpture lets in plenty of sunlight in during the day so you can admire see the light transform each individual piece as well as the whole. Don’t forget to look up to see the Space Needle framed beautifully by the glass flowers.
The Glass Forest
Inside the Glass Forest gallery, you will be amazed at the ingenuity and the imagination that goes into glassblowing. The delicate shapes and stunning colors of the sculptures in contrast with the black gallery space will leave you spellbound!
Inspired by the Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest and the Native American culture were a big inspiration for Chihuly, who grew up here. In the Cylinders and Baskets series, Chihuly experiments with glass thread drawings on vessels – inspiration from the Navajo textile designs that can be seen displayed on the wall.
Persian Ceiling Room
This room was my favorite! An overhead flat panel of glass contains an assortment of backlit pieces in a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes. A kaleidoscope of colors! The light above shines through the glass leaving rainbow reflections along the walls. This space is a great example of Chihuly’s creativity.
Float Boat and Sealife Gallery
A glass ocean and pretty yellow sea creatures wait for you at the Sealife Gallery. A 20-foot tall sea life tower in the colors of the sea contains hidden treasures such as starfish and seashells that you will have fun spotting.
The float boats are in another room – an explosion of color contained within the space of a boat. One boat contains an array of spheres in so many different colors, sizes and patterns, each glass piece sparkling in the light. I think I like this displayed in the garden at the Dallas Arboretum better.
The other boat can be seen holding many swirling, thin glasses and odd shapes, some looked like candy canes, others looked like confetti. I can only imagine the amount of effort that went into creating each of the glassworks.
The Chihuly Garden Seattle
As you walk through this path into the Chihuly Garden Seattle, it is hard to miss that nature was Dale Chihuly’s biggest inspiration. Crimson camellias, dogwoods, scarlet daylilies, and fuchsias add color to the green of the garden. It’s hard to miss the neon pink and yellow icicle towers that can be found throughout the garden, and smooth glass spheres that reflect the Space Needle towering overhead.
Chihuly wanted his art to complement nature and his vision has been executed perfectly. Nature and Art complement each other at Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum in Seattle! At the center of this lush landscape, on a bed of black mondo grass, is the Sun, a bright explosion of yellow and orange!
Tips for visiting the Chihuly Glass Museum
If you want to know more about the process of blowing glass after visiting these exhibits, stop at The Theatre where you can see short videos about Chihuly, his working process, and the art of glassblowing.
Chihuly Garden and Glass offer an audio tour that you can access on your smartphone for free. In each room, take a picture of the QR code near the entrance and listen to stories and secrets, straight from Chihuly and his team on how and why each piece of art was made.
Though the glass is beautiful inside the galleries year-round, the garden is at its most spectacular when you have sunny skies. We were lucky to be blessed with blue skies the day we visited 🙂 Try to plan your Chihuly visit when the sun is out.
The museum is beautiful at night when the glass in the garden is lit up against the dark sky. Or plan your visit close to sunset so you can see the moving sun transform the glass.
We spent a good two hours at Chihuly Glass Museum. There is so much to see and you can stare at the sculptures for as long as you like and take many photos!
See a visual story here
How to save on tickets to Seattle Attractions
Chihuly Garden and Glass is open daily, with hours varying by season. Check their website for seasonal hours, and to purchase tickets in advance. The Chihuly Garden and Glass also offer package deals that include admission to the Space Needle.
You can get the most out of your trip to Seattle plus enjoy access to five of the city’s top attractions with the Seattle CityPASS. It is the best way to save money and see more of Seattle’s best attractions without paying for separate admission every time.
The booklet grants you free entry into sights including the Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center, the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, and either the Museum of Pop Culture or the Woodland Park Zoo. Plus you can enjoy a wealth of useful Seattle tips and savings at other venues and retailers.
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