Soulful Emptiness

October 4, 2014


Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

“Soulful emptiness is not anxious.  In fact, power pours in when we sustain the feeling of emptiness and withstand temptations to fill it prematurely.  We have to contain the void.  Too often we lose this pregnant emptiness by reaching for substitutes for power. . . . The soul has no room in which to present itself if we continually fill all the gaps with bogus activities.”
— Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Where Grace Enters In

September 29, 2014

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

Dale Chihuly glass collection, Tacoma Art Museum

“Grace fills empty spaces but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.”
— Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

Tacoma's Museum of Glass with clouds

Tacoma’s Museum of Glass with clouds

Of course no trip to Tacoma is complete without enjoying some glass art.  The Tacoma Art Museum has an impressive collection of Chihuly glass, and Tacoma’s Museum of Glass is another big draw.  We were able to see a lot of glass art in the outdoor public areas adjacent to the Museum of Glass without paying admission.  Here are some photos:

Fluent Steps by Martin Blank was inspired by the "elegant movement of steam rising from his teacup"

Fluent Steps by Martin Blank was inspired by the “elegant movement of steam rising from his teacup”



Tacoma's Bridge of Glass with stunniing glass works by Dale Chihuly

Tacoma’s Bridge of Glass with stunning glass works by Dale Chihuly



Two red umbrellas, Tacoma

Two red umbrellas, Tacoma




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!

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

“Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking:  one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortune-teller’s, only to know that one might.  A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.”
— Rebecca Solnit, A History of Walking

Today I attended a workshop at the Seattle Public Library downtown, and I decided I would walk from my house.  It’s only 5-1/2 miles, but I had never before walked downtown to work.  I chose a direct route down Eastlake Avenue, which parallels the east shore of Lake Union.  The street does not run right along the water, but I got brief views at each intersection, where I could see down to the lake.  It was a clear, sunny day, but I walked on the shady side of the street and did not get too hot.

Here are some of the things I saw along the way:

Crossing I-5 on 45th Street NE. Heavy traffic going into downtown.

On clear days, Mount Rainier dominates the horizon.

Statue of Sadako and the thousand origami cranes near the University Bridge

After crossing the University Bridge, I could smell fresh bread from this bakery.

Rolled croissants, ready to rise

Fresh baguettes, Le Fournil Bakery

I kept passing these sidewalk plaques on Eastlake Ave E. They showed various microorganisms native to Lake Union. I learned later that they are the creation of artist Stacy Levy.

"The Vessel" by Ed Carpenter, a sculpture at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, South Lake Union

Reflections on the sidewalk from The Vessel sculpture

One of the figures from Akio Takamon's "Three Women" sculpture outside Whole Foods Market, South Lake Union

I arrived downtown after walking two hours.  I had an hour before my workshop started, so I decided to check out the Chihuly glass installations in public locations in downtown Seattle.

Persian glass installation by Dale Chihuly, on the mezzanine of the City Centre building on 5th Avenue

Detail from glass installation at City Centre

An installation of Flower Forms in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel

Detail of Chihuly's Flower Forms, Sheraton Hotel

One of two glass chandeliers by Dale Chihuly in Benaroya Hall

"Crystal Cascade" chandelier by Dale Chihuly

Detail of glass chandelier at Benaroya Hall

All too soon, it was time to report to work at the library.

Seattle Public Library, Central Branch downtown Seattle, designed by Rem Koolhaas

Interior, Seattle Public Library

Escalator, Seattle Public Library

Another escalator, Seattle Public Library

Tacoma Art Museum

Current exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum: Dale Chihuly's Northwest

Northwest influences: Chihuly's collection of Native American portraits by Edward S. Curtis

Tacoma is proud to claim glass artist Dale Chihuly as one of its own, and the Tacoma Art Museum is currently featuring a new exhibit that celebrates Chihuly’s Northwest influences.  The museum has relocated Chihuly’s vast collection of Native wool trade blankets and photogravure portraits by Edward S. Curtis from Chihuly’s Boathouse in Seattle, and they form an impressive backdrop to Chihuly’s iconic glass art.  Native American baskets from the collections of the Washington State History Museum stand side by side with Chihuly’s glass forms, which were inspired by the historic containers.

Here are some photos from the exhibit:

Chihuly glass baskets

Glass basket and shadow

Deatil of another glass basket with shadow

Nested glass baskets by Dale Chihuly

Detail, Chihuly basket

Chihuly cylinder with glass-thread drawings inspired by Native blankets

Another glass cylinder with Native basket

Glass art and Native baskets

Reflections and echoes

Chihuly baskets with his collection of Native wool blankets

Do You Admire Enough?

April 10, 2011

“Admire as much as you can; most people do not admire enough.”
     — Vincent Van Gogh

I admired Dale Chihuly’s glass vessels on a recent trip to the Tacoma Art Museum.  What have you admired lately?

Dale Chihuly glass vessel, Tacoma Art Museum

Details, Dale Chihuly glass, Tacoma Art Museum collection

Details, Dale Chihuly glass, Tacoma Art Museum collection

Glass and its reflection, Dale Chihuly, Tacoma Art Museum

Waves of glass, Dale Chihuly vessels, Tacoma Art Museum

Sounder Commuter Train between Tacoma and Seattle

On Thursday my friend Carol and I went to the Tacoma Art Museum and decided to make the journey more adventuresome by using only public transportation.  The Sounder Commuter Train runs twice in the morning and twice in late afternoon, during peak commuting times, between Seattle and Tacoma.  We didn’t want to spend too many hours in Tacoma during the middle of the day, so we decided to take the 594 bus from downtown Seattle to Tacoma ($3.00 fare), and then return on the Sounder.  This turned out to be a good plan for a fun day trip.

The 594 bus dropped us off on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma within a block of the Tacoma Art Museum.  The museum had a special 75-cent admission on Thursday in celebration of its 75th anniversary.  It is a gem of a museum, and the current exhibits featured Japanese woodblock prints, some Impressionist paintings, and “Mighty Tacoma:  A Photographic Portrait,” in addition to an ongoing exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass baskets.

Dale Chihuly's 40 Niijima glass floats on Stone Wave by Richard Rhodes, Tacoma Art Museum

Detail of one of Dale Chihuly's glass baskets

One of my favorite Japanese woodcut prints, Night Rain at Oyama by Tokokuni II, Tacoma Art Museum

Special photographic exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

Mighty Tacoma: Photographic Portrait, Tacoma Art Museum

Interactive exhibit. The museum's photographer-in-residence took pictures of patrons to add to the Mighty Tacoma exhibit.

Picture Yourself Here, interactive exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

A Tacoma artist-in-residence takes photographs of patrons for the exhibit.

After a delightful museum visit, Carol and I ate a leisurely lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, walked through the University of Washington Tacoma campus, and then caught the free link (light rail) from the museum district to the Tacoma Dome Station.  There we walked across the street to the Sounder station where we caught the commuter train back to Seattle ($4.75 fare).  We enjoyed a relaxed ride with the recurring sound of the train whistle reminding us that this was quite a different journey than driving down I-5.

The Sounder approaches the Tacoma depot.

Interior of the Sounder Commuter Train (free wi-fi, bathrooms, luggage racks)