Dale Chihuly


Dale Chihuly : biography

1941-9-20 –

Life and career

Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington, where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. He enrolled at the College of the Puget Sound in 1959. A year later, he transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle, where in 1965 he received a bachelor of arts degree in interior design. While at the University of Washington, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Kappa Epsilon chapter)., from Chihuly’s personal website

In the year 1967, he received a Master of Science in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he studied under Harvey Littleton. In 1968, he studied glass in Venice on a Fulbright Fellowship and received a Master of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1971, with the support of John Hauberg and Anne Gould Hauberg, Chihuly cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. In 1976, while Chihuly was in England, he was involved in a head-on car accident during which he flew through the windshield., The Stranger, February 2006 His face was severely cut by glass and he was blinded in his left eye. After recovering, he continued to blow glass until he dislocated his right shoulder in a 1979 bodysurfing accident. No longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe, he hired others to do the work. Chihuly explained the change in a 2006 interview, saying "Once I stepped back, I liked the view" and pointing out that it allowed him to see the work from more perspectives and enabled him to anticipate problems faster. Chihuly describes his role as "more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, more director than actor." San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Erin Glass wrote that she "wonders at the vision of not just the artist Chihuly, but the wildly successful entrepreneur Chihuly, whose estimated sales by 2004 was reported by The Seattle Times as $29 million.", by Erin Glass, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 April 2010 Chihuly and his team of artists were the subjects of the documentary Chihuly Over Venice. They were also featured in the documentary Chihuly in the Hotshop, syndicated to public television stations by American Public Television starting on November 1, 2008., from Chihuly’s Portland Press website

About his work

Regina Hackett, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer art critic, provided a chronology of his work during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s:

  • 1975: Navajo Blanket Series, in which patterns of Navajo blankets were painted onto glass
  • 1977: Northwest Coast Basket Series, baskets inspired by Northwest coast Indian baskets he’d seen as a child
  • 1980: Seaform Series, transparent sculptures of thin glass, strengthened by ribbed strands of color
  • 1981: Macchia Series, featuring every color available in the studio
  • 1986: Persian Series, inspired by Middle East glass from the 12th- to 14th-century, featuring more restrained color and room-sized installations
  • 1988: Venetian Series, improvisations based on Italian Art Deco
  • 1989: Ikebana Series, glass flower arrangements inspired by ikebana
  • 1990: Venetian Series returns, this time in a more eccentric form
  • 1991: Niijima Floats, six-foot spheres of intricate color inspired by Japanese glass fishing floats from the island of Niijima from Chihuly’s website
  • 1992: Chandeliers, starting modestly but by the middle of the decade involving a ton of glass orbs and shapes that in some works look like flowers, others like breasts, and still others like snakes Chihuly has also produced a sizable volume of "Irish cylinders", which are more modest in conception than his blown glass works.

For his exhibition in Jerusalem in 2000, in addition to the glass pieces, he had enormous blocks of transparent ice brought in from an Alaskan artesian well and formed a wall, echoing the stones of the nearby Citadel. Lights with color gels were set up behind them for illumination. Chihuly said the melting wall represented the "dissolution of barriers" between people.