Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Three Days in Seattle -- Chihuly Garden and Glass

You can read Part One about my vacation time being a tourist in Seattle here.

I actually visited Chihuly Garden and Glass on my own, since Nigel had gone back to work before I got it together enough to visit. But I did meet him for lunch, which was fun.

I started my day out with a trip to Pike Place Market at 9 a.m., when many of the craft vendors were still setting up their booths. Most of the produce, flower, fish and food vendors were already open. Pike Place Market is one of the oldest, continually operating farmer's markets in the U.S.

You can get some really beautiful, locally grown flowers at the Market.

This booth sells dried flowers enclosed in prisms and hung on cords, for wearing as a necklace.

After wandering the Market for an hour or so, I headed back to Seattle Center to view the glass exhibit. Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum devoted to the work of Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned Tacoma-born glass artist and entrepeneur. This museum replaced an old and quite cheesy little fun-fair, with kiddie rides, probably left over from the 1962 World's Fair. It's a vast improvement.

Glass art is extremely popular here in the PNW. There is a Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which I'd like to visit some day as well.

I loved these slumped baskets inside baskets.

The lighting was really clever. Somehow, there was enough light to see by, plenty actually, and yet all the glass art was also lit very brightly, to the extent that they almost looked like they were floating in a sea of black.

Chihuly went through a period where he did a lot of sea creatures in glass. I loved his octopi!

Chihuly calls these Mille Fiori, which means a thousand flowers in Italian. This huge room was full of the most wonderful flowery shapes and bright colors!

Then there were these two boats, full of floats and swirly glass shapes, which he calls Ikebana.

This boat full of floats and squiggles is sitting on a highly polished platform that reflects the pieces beautifully.

Here you can get some idea of the size of the chandeliers Dale Chihuly creates.

After making my way through the museum, I finally went outside into the garden to explore.

I thought it was cool the way they matched the color of the glass ornaments to the flowers.

Good thing I went on a sunny day, so the blue glass can echo the cloudless sky.

Another amazing color echo!

Love the contrast between the sharp angular glass and the organic, whorled shapes of the tree roots.

These odd balloon-like shapes reminded me of a horde of baby seals. Nigel called them licorice slugs. Kinda like banana slugs, but sweeter.

You can see the Space Needle reflected in this glass globe, which has color echoes of the black mondo grass planted with it. And if you look closely in the center, you can also see me!
You exit through the souvenir shop, where if you have a spare $6,000 or $7,000 lying around, you can buy your very own piece of Chihuly glass art. Very pretty, but I'd be afraid of breaking it!

I hope you enjoyed visiting the glass museum with me. I had a blast!


  1. Those pictures are amazing! I definitely want to visit that place and the garden if I'm ever in Seattle. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Looking at the glass pieces out in the garden makes me hope they don't have HAIL in Seattle. Beautiful things. How much for the chandelier?

  3. I have been fascinated with Chihuly, ever since watching the PBS special on his lifes was amazing! Thanks for sharing his beautiful work with us. Wasn't it a treat to have such a beautiful day to take it all in?

  4. I never seen such a place! How wonderful!!

  5. Oh, that stuff again...Living in Chihuly's home town within walking distance of the museum of glass and seeing his glass bridge on my daily commute, I tend to be a little jaded but your photographs are stunning and make me want to go to Seattle to see it myself! I love your idea of doing touristy things in Seattle. We once vacationed there, stayed at the Sorento and did a lot of walking, sight seeing, saw a show or two. Great fun and only 40 minutes from home. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Fastastic shots! Now I don't have to go! The glass museum is definetly worth a day trip!

  7. So glad you shared all these great pieces of art!! Love his turtle and octopi. Nice to see the items at Pikes Market too... a photographer's dream!
    I hadn't seen many of the Chihuly pieces inside...very cool. The outside ones, beautiful!!

  8. My favorite is those those dried flower pendants. Fun!

  9. I love Pike Place. It's a must whenever I am in Seattle. I haven't been to Chihuly's Garden, but after seeing your pics, it's definitely going on my to-see list next time we're around that area.

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  11. Is there a website for the glass flower necklaces?? i bought one while i was in Seattle and it fell off and now i miss it! I live in UK so a bit tricky to get another!

    1. Here is the website that was listed on a little card that came with the necklace: Hope that helps.

  12. Great when the glass and the flower color play well with each other.

    Didn't know C. did some intricate small work besides the monumental pieces. They are impressive, those octopus, very much like the real thing in feeling and expression. Thanks for this post!


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