There’s a building in downtown Vancouver right between West Georgia and Alberni. On one side, there are several large colourful glass-blown flower sculptures encased in an enormous glass cabinet overlooking a series of fountains and shallow step pools. I’ve probably walked by it a million times to and from work, but it took me years to realize that this was artwork by Dale Chihuly.
Occasionally, I’d come across one of Chihuly’s fantastical glass installations; at the lobby of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kew Gardens a few years back and recently at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Bright and captivating, his creations were unlike anything I’d seen before.
Knowing he’s a native of the Pacific Northwest, I usually feel strangely proud whenever I chance upon in his stunning artwork in far off places. It also felt a little like “a prophet in his own land” situation since I’d never seen any of his works close to home. Well, except for the piece on that building downtown.
A few months ago, a friend scouting wedding venues suggested a trip to Seattle to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass, I jumped at the opportunity. First off, I should probably admit that I didn’t even know this place existed, but it’s been open since 2012.
This enchanting space sits right next to the Space Needle at the Seattle Center and contains an extensive collection of Chihuly’s work celebrating, according to their website… “our region’s creative energy and inspire visitors to engage with our region’s cultural community”. The space includes a conservatory glasshouse, a magical glass garden and a series of stunning galleries.
It’s quite a unique experience; whimsical, vibrant and wonderful, it’s a visual feast. Glass blown ornaments and sculptures are incorporated into a beautiful landscape to create a fascinating wonderland. The glasshouse sits delicately in the middle adorned with a dramatic and large suspended sculpture of glass flowers in vibrant hues of red and yellow.
The galleries are splendid, stunning colourful spaces showcasing striking glass pieces, surreal elaborate sculptures and grand architectural installations, all delightful and inspiring.
Chihuly Glass & Garden
305 Harrison St,
Seattle, WA 98109