Monday, 21 October 2019

Chihuly Glass at Kew Gardens

Chandelier at the Victoria and Albert
My first introduction to the sublime work of Dale Chihuly was at the marvelous Sculptureum gardens and galleries at Matakana, north of Auckland, New Zealand. I was captivated by his riotous, flamboyant works both for their beauty and for the wonder of their production. I had never heard of him before that visit but was keen to see and learn more about his work.

Seattle based Chihuly, has had a 50 year long career in art which has included work in mediums such as sculpture, neon, plastics and drawings but it is for his blown glass work that he is most famous.   His works have been shown and acclaimed all over the world perhaps most notably in Jerusalem where he holds the world record for most visitors (1.3million) to a temporary exhibition. The Oklahoma City Museum of art hosts a permanent exhibition of his work although many galleries offer Chihuly pieces for sale. After suffering the loss of an eye and an arm injury Chihuly found he could no longer hold the weight of the glass blowing pipe so now his works are produced from his studio by a number of master glass craftsmen under his supervision. He designs the pieces and has been quoted as saying he enjoys this process immensely. Some of his largest works now sell for many millions of dollars and although these are monumental and quite breathtaking the studio also produces smaller pieces suitable for display in the home.

On my recent trip to London I was delighted to see a magnificent Chihuly chandelier at the Victoria
and Albert museum and when my son suggested a visit to Kew Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibition I jumped at the chance.

Kew Gardens is worth a visit any time but this exhibition showcasing the marriage between the glories of nature and Chihuly's nature inspired glass works was spectacular.  The size and intricacies of the sculptures made me wonder how on earth they are transported across the world. It must be a delicate and nerve wracking operation. The exhibition at Kew ran until late October so if you missed out here are photos of some of the pieces. I assure you these photos do not do the sculptures justice.

The huge tree above is made entirely of glass rods. 

I have written a previous blog about  Kew Gardens you can find it by entering the following into my search box: The Hive - Kew Gardens Stunning New Attraction 9/4/16 

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