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

“People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
— Proverb

Vancouver's glass skyline with red and yellow houseboats

My husband and I just returned from a weekend getaway to Vancouver, B.C.  We traveled on Amtrak, departing Seattle on Saturday morning and returning on the late Sunday train.  It’s been many years since we’ve spent a day in Vancouver, and we enjoyed walking the streets of a “foreign” city.  The heart of Vancouver is built on a peninsula, so it is surrounded on three sides by water.  It is a city of glass — many, many towers of glass form the city’s skyline.  I wonder how this openness, this permanent exposure, affects people’s sense of privacy.  I imagine that when the proverb about people living in glass houses was first uttered in the 1600s and 1700s, few could have conceived of the glass skyscrapers that have become common in our lives today.  With the internet, blogs, and social networks, much of our lives are open books.  Maybe living in a glass house is just another aspect of our transparency.

Sunday morning street in Vancouver

Vancouver's waterfront with soaring tent-like peaks of Canada Place

Canada's maple leaf flag

“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

Vintage Ornaments

December 11, 2010

Here are a few vintage glass Christmas ornaments from the ones we used on the farm during my childhood:

Watercolor sketch of vintage Christmas tree ornaments

Watercolor sketch of vintage ornaments from my childhood

Glass Pumpkin Patch

October 8, 2010

The Great Northwest Glass Pumpkin Patch

During the month of October, the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio hosts five pumpkin patches of individually hand-blown glass pumpkins.  (You can link to their website here:  They are colorful events, with a uniquely Northwest flavor.

Pumpkins of blue glass arranged on a table

Staff assisting with set-up and sales

Choosing from among the hundreds of hand-blown glass pumpkins

Detail of glass pumpkin

Green and gold glass pumpkins

Colorful glass pumpkin

Closed Mondays

December 29, 2009

Volunteer Park Conservatory, closed Mondays

I stopped by Volunteer Park yesterday (Monday) and had hoped to wander through the conservatory and take pictures.  But it was closed.  Rather than give in to my waylaid wishes, I took out my camera and shot through the glass siding.  I love the abstract impressions achieved by shooting through old glass and condensation.

Outside looking in, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Through glass, Volunteer Park Conservatory

Flower impressions through glass, Volunteer Park Conservatory