Seattle Space Needle viewed from Kerry Park

Seattle Space Needle viewed from Kerry Park

The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, is still one of Seattle’s icons.  I didn’t intend to have this image dominate my sightseeing spree around the city with my sister and her husband, but once I noticed its reflection in the glass creations in the gardens of Chihuly Garden and Glass, I was captivated by its presence.  Here are 14 photos of the Space Needle out and about Seattle:

Space Needle from the glass house at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Space Needle from the glass house at Chihuly Garden and Glass











Space Needle from the fountain at the Seattle Center

Space Needle from the fountain at the Seattle Center

Space Needle from Calder's Eagle at the Olympic Sculpture Park

Space Needle from Calder’s Eagle at the Olympic Sculpture Park



In the garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass

In the garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass

I’ve spent the past 10 days taking my sister and her husband to some of my favorite places in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.  Audrey’s vacation priorities were family and National Parks, but before heading off on a couple of road trips, she wanted to spend the first day after their arrival in Seattle recovering from jet lag.  The highlight of our day out and about Seattle was our visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, which showcases the work of glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  It is located at the base of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center.  When we arrived, workers were cleaning up from the annual Bumbershoot Festival.  (Bumbershoot is another name for umbrella.)

Bumbershoot Alley at the Seattle Center

Bumbershoot Alley at the Seattle Center

Two of my favorite spaces are the Persian Ceiling Room and the Glass House inside Chihuly Garden and Glass.  My sister liked the gardens outside, where glass sculptures are artfully placed next to a diverse selection of colorful plants.

Sculpture in the Sealife Room

Sculpture in the Sealife Room

Persian Ceiling with reflections on the wall

Persian Ceiling with reflections on the wall

Detail, Persian Ceiling

Detail, Persian Ceiling

Mille Fiori Room

Mille Fiori Room



Macchia Forest Room

Macchia Forest Room

Glass House

Glass House

Garden outside

Garden outside










“Choice is the holy-making stuff of life.”
— Joan Chittister, Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy

“In a way, anyone who collects things in the privacy of his own home is a curator.  Simply choosing how to display your things, what pictures to hang where, and in which order your books belong, places you in the same category as a museum curator.”
— Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck

Accordions from Dale Chihuly’s personal collection hang from the ceiling in the cafe at Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Accordions and Chihuly’s paintings

The Cafe at Chihuly Garden and Glass holds its own as a place of interest.  Called the “Collections Cafe,” it showcases 28 of Dale Chihuly’s personal collections.  And what a varied array of collections it holds — accordions, clocks, lemon juicers, and more.  We had already seen parts of Chihuly’s personal collections of Native trade blankets, Native baskets, and Edward Curtis photographs in the Northwest Room of the glass exhibits.  But the collections in the cafe show another side of Chihuly — one wonders what the appeal of the objects had to Chihuly’s artistic eye.

I find it fascinating that Chihuly, a prolific and accomplished glass artist, is also an avid collector of — in many cases — quite ordinary, inexpensive objects.  Every collector is a curator, too, and his collections are another aspect of self-expression.  You can read more about Chihuly’s personal collections in this Seattle Times article.

In the Collections Cafe, most of Chihuly’s collections are cunningly displayed under glass table tops.  Quite ingenious!

Cafe table showcasing a collection of wooden toy furniture

This table displays an assortment of lemon juicers.

Cafe table with clock collection





View of the Seattle’s Space Needle from Chihuly Garden and Glass

The garden part of Chihuly Garden and Glass is varied, colorful, and as visually arresting as the glass sculptures inside.  I tried to pay particular attention to the juxtaposition of the plants and art, and I imagine that there will be new points of interest as the flowers, foliage, and trees move through their seasonal changes.

Lily with orange glass forest

Blue spires and fallen logs

Greens in foliage and glass

Detail, garden sculpture

Silvery leaves and glass ball with metallic colors

In the garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Glass like a vine

And glass like a slender tree trunk

Chihuly Garden and Glass sculptures among the plants

Detail, blue glass in the garden

The price of admission included a return ticket to the garden in the evening.  We were tempted to skip the evening return visit, but we were so glad we made the effort to go back.  At night, the garden is a magical place.  The sculptures are lit and create an enchanted atmosphere.

Glass House at night. Lighting shows off the 100-ft. suspended sculpture.

New view of the Seattle Space Needle

Hall of chandeliers by the outdoor patio

Chihuly Garden and Glass at night

Monumental outdoor sculpture, Chihuly Garden and Glass

In the garden at night

Glowing glass sun
















The Glasshouse at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

My sister and her husband were visiting from Wisconsin, and while playing tourist in Seattle, I finally went to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum that opened earlier this year.  The exhibition surpassed my expectations.  I’m sure it will become a top tourist site for Seattle, but like the Pike Place Market, it should also be a go-to destination for those of us who live here.  I’ll be returning, especially if they host special exhibits from time to time.

Some of the Chihuly pieces on display at Chihuly Garden and Glass are familiar, like old friends.  The Northwest Room was similar to the exhibit I saw at the Tacoma Art Museum in June 2011.  The Persian Ceiling feels similar to the Bridge of Glass in Tacoma.  But there were many, many new pieces too.  I loved how room opened upon room, each stunning in a new way.  Here’s a virtual tour:

Glass Forest

The Northwest Room

Glass baskets in the Northwest Room, inspired by Chihuly’s collection of Native woven baskets

Chihuly glass and his collection of Native trade blankets

Chihuly’s collection of Edward Curtis prints on the wall leading to the Sealife Room

Sealife Room

The Sealife Room opened into the room with the Persian Ceiling

Awestruck visitors take in the Persian Ceiling

Strategically placed benches allowed you to rest a while and immerse yourself in the art

The Persian Ceiling Room, with its reflections, was my favorite part of Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Doorway to the Milli Fiori Room

The glass sculptures were dramatically lit in the black room.

Detail, glass sculptures in Milli Fiori room

Detail, glass sculptures in the Milli Fiori room

Ikebana and Float Boat

Chihuly’s paintings are energetic and colorful.

Next, a room of glass chandeliers

Orange chandelier

Detail, chandeliers

Macchia Forest Room

Detail, glass sculpture in Macchia Forest Room

Glasshouse, Chihuly Garden and Glass

Tomorrow’s post will take you into the Garden.  Stay tuned!

The blue-ribbon days of summer!

Hydrangeas in blues and purples

A bush of blue hydrangeas

Garden art: blue plate in a garden gate

I love the blue stems of sea holly


Nothing but blue skies (Just kidding — this is Seattle, after all!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass sculpture brings this quote to life: “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Blue window trim, Post Alley


Sweet blueberries, just picked

Sandra Cintro’s Encontro das Aguas (Encounters with Water) at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Center

The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition will open in Seattle on May 21st, 2012.  Workers are busy putting the finishing touches on this new museum and garden celebrating the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly.  Walking by the construction site reveals a rewarding sneak peek at some of the glass art.  It’s going to be amazing.

(I wonder how the outdoor glass pieces will be protected from hail, heavy snow, and wind storms!)

Glass sculpture with Pacific Science Center arches

This sculpture is in the garden

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Peek through the glass windows to see iconic Chihuly sea form sculptures


Two sculptures

Glass sculpture, reminds me of the needles on an evergreen tree

Sneaking a peek through the glass windows of the exhibit hall

Glass sculpture looks like rock candy

Workers taking a break

Finishing touches

A peek into the cafe — vibrant Chihuly art on the walls and accordions hanging from ceiling

Sculpture reflected in the windows of the Space Needle