After viewing Chihuly’s Glass and Garden site in Seattle, the following year we took the train 45 km. south of Seattle to Tacoma.
Tacoma has been historically a poorer, smaller sibling town to Seattle. It has had a predominantly blue collar population with some water vessel building and maintenance facilities for the military and private firms. Fifteen years ago when we first dropped by, there wasn’t much to see and do in this town.
Fast forward to this year, Tacoma’s waterfront has been slowly rehabilitated with a pleasant boardwalk for cyclists and pedestrians, artwork, street lighting, cafes and condos. Still quiet, but far more liveable and safer to hang out in the evening.
After filling ourselves with a leisurely seafood large lunch, we headed over to the Museum of Glass, a white grey glass semi-oblong modern stub building that rose near a highway cabled bridge by the waterfront. We were taking advantage of their monthly free museum evening.
Enroute to the Glass Museum, you can stroll over the Glass Bridge. It is a short wide concrete elevated walkway with glass encased displays of glass sculptural artwork. We have seen this artwork at night on our first visit and during the day. Flanking the bridge entrance, are towering sculptures of stacked blue glass ice cubes.
The signature art work that was most inspiring was inside, near the gift shop: a large whimsical glass painted mural of glass blowing artists and various Muse figures trying to spawn artistic inspiration. Then there was the special exhibit, “Raven and Box of Daylight” by Preston Singletary, a Tiglit northwest coast Indian artist, on on his glass and wood sculptural art.
The exhibit was a fabulous sculptural storytelling journey of the Raven and what the Raven brought to the Tiglit people.
Afterwards we slid into seats at the Hot Glass theatre to watch glassblowing artists forge and fashion quickly their blazing molten glass artwork. No wonder the Musuem of Glass was architecturally designed to also house hot molten glass foundry and kilns as well as to dissipate high above the super-high heat from the kilns.
Repeated reshaping of molten glass in and out of the firing kiln was required to mold the glass to its perfect shape — a skill that must be honed by years of practice and literal sweat. And no doubt, some broken art pieces along the way before completing their dream artwork.