I think people who are masters of their art are a whole other league of humans. Seriously. Witnessing someone’s excellence can be an out-of-body experience.
That’s what it was like for The Muse and me at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle. It’s a permanent installation of glass art by Dale Chihuly at the base of the Space Needle. (At least it better be permanent – I can’t imagine what it took to transport and set up this stuff!) We had gotten a small peek of it through the wall of bushes that hides it from public view, and I’d heard from friends who’d been there that it was really cool.
“Really cool” is a bit of an understatement. It was flippin’ mind-blowing.
First of all, the exhibit was much larger than I expected. I thought it was just going to be the outside garden, but there were actually more sculptures inside the building than out. And they were HUGE. All glass. Absolutely gorgeous. Jaw-dropping, truly.
I’m going to explain a bit about what you’ll see here, and then let the photos speak for themselves. Most of the inside sculptures were displayed on shiny black surfaces, which created really cool reflections. Nothing you’ll see here is small. The boats with the balls are full-sized boats. There were some smaller sculptures, too, which were also really cool, but I’m just showing you the big stuff here.
The first sculpture below must have been at least fifteen feet tall. You can’t tell very well from the photo, but the yellowish parts are different sea creatures. There were several of similar size, shape, and awesomeness in the exhibit.
One room had all of the glasswork displayed above your head, behind sheets of clear glass, lit from behind (see the third through fifth photos below). There’s one photo with The Muse to show some size reference for a medium-sized piece. And outside, many of the balls in the garden reflected the Space Needle, which was a really cool effect.
Basically, it was like spending an hour walking around Wonderland. Surreal and beautiful, and well worth the $19 admission ($12 for kids). If you have the choice between going up in the Space Needle and seeing this exhibit, go with this. Way better.
I’ll shut up now and let you look. Just multiply the “ooh, ahh” factor of looking at the photos by about ten, and you’ll have a sense of our experience. And this was really just about half of what there was to see. I didn’t include photos of everything.