Many times when in downtown Seattle, we strolled by the Chihuly Glass and Garden, or colloquially named the Glass Sculpture Garden, near the Space Needle. We finally paid the admission fee and went inside to discover what lay beyond the glass sculptural twirling shapes sticking up over the bush hedges.
Alchemy of Glass Colour, Textural Illumination and Light
Glass Sculpture Garden showcases glass-blown artwork of international and local-bred Dale Chihuly, the glass artist. Much of his frontier-breaking artwork are abstract shapes; large-scale, logic-defying art installations and inventive glass firing with juxtaposing glass art colours, shapes and light.
Start Visit Just Before Sunset
For full glass fantasia, other-world effect, it’s best to be at the garden, about one hour before sunset and on a day with some sunlight but not glaring bright summer sunlight which would wash out mysterious art shadows. The visit includes indoor art installations which takes advantage of moving and dancing natural light.
You’ll see what I mean: my skyward head-turning photos during misty, rainy late afternoon. We didn’t quite plan our timing which led to some unexpected wonderful views of the glass sculptures.
I must have spent nearly 50 minutes, craning my neck at 75 degree-angle to shoot some glass art ceiling.
Mirroring Underwater World of Imagination
Inside there are glass sculpture art ceilings with masses of carefully positioned art pieces overlapping at times. End effect was sometimes, underwater glass sea life suspended in glass watery waves, shimmering glass flower baubles and bubbles. Or exploding underwater glass with genie bottles floating in the water-air.
I noticed two Asian women taking a lot of selfies and others. They ignored the glass art fantasia ceiling above them. Finally I walked over and politely told them, they won’t see this type of art work on this same scale elsewhere. They politely edged away from me: clearly an (art) nut.
There were some large rooms, where the glass sculpture garden was translated on ground, in artfully darkened rooms with strategic light where the glass garden reflected onto the black floor. A boatload of glass art bauble garden was laid out in one room. Another room featured a forest of grass, round glass boulders and blown lilies.
Here and there, were Chiluly’s huge firebursts of crazy explosions hung from the ceiling or mounted outdoors as a glass exploding tree of light and fragility.
Shimmering Glass Sculptures Among Coastal Fairytale Forest
Then outside, after the light drizzling rain evaporated in the cool fall evening, we crept slowly through semi-manicured coastal evergreen tree gardens with red sapling trees and ornamental fluffy lettuce plants which were punctuated with wavering glass sculptures and glass-like beach shore baubles.
Walk abit further where shimmering, some glass-lit art pops up among a weather-worn, fallen giant old-growth tree trunk and twisted branches. The tableau was Hobbit-like, fairytale corner of an other-world outdoor garden in the dimming light.
It’s art that suspends layers of light, colour and myriad shapes in familiar and dream-like imagination.