It can be hard to choose the right material features for your garden, but have you ever considered using glass? The American artist, Dale Chihuly, has led the development of glass blowing becoming a form of fine art.
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly’s training included a spell in Venice, where he observed how teams blow glass. He later founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State and his exhibitions often combine glass with botany, as the colour and form echo each other.
In collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden, Chihuly has designed a range of new pieces that compliment the nature of the garden. If you’re in the New York area this summer, I strongly suggest you hop on the Metro North Railroad and go exploring!
Sapphire Star: composed of hundreds of spires, a form that Chihuly originally developed in the late 1990’s for a project in his native Pacific Northwest. In this sculpture, each element changes from a rich opaque blue at its base to clear at its tip.
Red Reeds on Logs: This design comprises wood logs collected from the grounds of The New York Botanical Garden and dozens of blown glass reeds.
Koda Study: Inspired in part by the unique landscape of the Native Plant Garden at The New York Botanical Garden, Chihuly explores light and color,.
Float Boat: The multicolored Niijima Floats fill a rough-hewn wooden boat evocative of a traditional fishing boat. Chihuly developed his now iconic Boat installations while in Nuutajärvi, Finland.
Sol del Citrón: Look closely at each individual piece and then take in the entire sculpture to really experience the overall effect.
Sol del Citrón: While the idiosyncrasies of glassblowing prohibit any two shapes to be exactly the same, Sol del Citron is composed of disparate forms that all come together in one multifaceted artwork.
Macchia Forest: Chihuly adopted the practice of fusing colored glass chips to the outer surface of the vessel creating a spotted affect and inspiring the series name, Macchia, which means “spotted” in Italian.
Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower: Here, Chihuly explores yet another permutations of color and form. Inspired by the frigid temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, the icicle forms are placed onto the tower structure.
White Tower with Fiori: After months of planning and preparation, the Chihuly team assembled White Tower onsite at The New York Botanical Garden in a single day.
Glasshouse Fiori: The shape and dynamism comes from the natural process of blowing glass and interspersing them in the garden gives the appearance that they are themselves fantastical plants.
Glasshouse Fiori: Surprisingly, these forms are not based directly on specific plants or animals despite their dynamic but ambiguous forms seeming very full of life.
The Chihuly Exhibition is at the New York Botanical Garden from Saturday, April 22, 2017 to Sunday, October 29, 2017.
There’s also the fantastic
Chihuly Garden & Glass in Seattle, and the Chihuly Collection in St Petersburg, Florida.