Chihuly the master of Blown Glass Art

Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on digg
Share on reddit

Chihuly the collector

Chihuly collects things and has an interest in the story behind other people’s collections. Some collections vary from vintage radios, cameras, Native American baskets, Trade Blankets which are colourful native American works of art. Lots of interesting things. Old-fashioned nostalgic Christmas tree ornaments, which is what some glass sculpture pieces laid out ready to be assembled at Kew reminded us of.

What other Blown Glass Artists inspired Chihuly?

Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová are artists that manipulated blown glass and inspired Chihuly upon his visit to the 1967 Exposition in Montreal.

Chihuly Blown Glass Production started in 1971

Pilchuck glass school creating an outdoor installation with colleague Carpenter. Both Chihuly and Carpenter had an interest in native cultural heritage, of indigenous people. Their communal items, the spirituality, the craftsmanship the textures’ colours. They collected items.

The words of Art Critic Donald Kuspit”Will it freeze in ice or sizzle like neon?”

1971 installation “20,000 pounds of Neon and Ice U shaped neon blown lass tubes were frozen into moulds filled with water. The blocks of ice would illuminate and slowly melt over ten days. When you consider how some Young British Artists many years later, also got into the affinity with neon glass art; Chihuly perhaps a forerunner to dreaming big worthy of names in lights.

Art critic Donald Kuspit, coined Fire Ice and reference to the poem by Robert Frost “How will the world end? Will it freeze in ice or sizzle like neon?

Drawing with glass, Chihuly “pickup” drawing technique developed in 1974

Chihuly developed a breakthrough glass blowing technique in 1974 that involved collecting glass rod threads, laying them down into intricate designs and then rolling OnTop a bubble of molten glass over the design. The result can be by the sketch like designs on the glass.

Chihuly blown glass Cylinders series began in 1975

Definitely cylindrical shaped, ranging from clear glass to coloured class to plain or decorated.

Glass threads in different colours help to form lines that appear like sketch drawings onto the glass. The techniques inspired by Native American textiles like Navajo blankets.

1975 Navajo Blanket cylinder series starts a link is made with the curator of New York Metropolitan Museum of Art they give 3 cylinders to the contemporary department. Seaver Leslie and Chihuly conceive the idea to create cylinders for an Irish project. This exhibition never saw the light of day because of a sudden accident. Tenacity and the bond prevailed, some 40 yrs later in 2013 they realised it when the friends collaborated again to pick up that project again ” Ulysses Cylinders”.

  • Chihuly Glass art Cylinders on display at Kew
  • Pilchuck Cylinder Blown Glass 1984
  • Peach Cylinder with Indian Blanket Drawing Blown Glass 1995
  • White cylinder 2011
  • Clear Blanket cylinder 2015
  • Clear cylinder #11 2006
  • Clear Blanket cylinder 2016
  • a.Peach cylinder with Indian blanket drawing Blown glass 1995
  • b.Peach cylinder with Indian Blanket drawing blown glass 1995
  • c.Peach cylinder with Indian Blanket Drawing 1995

Seaforms  1980

These are delightful delicate seashore inspired pieces. So realistic they look nature identical, however, the artist does not have forensically studied sea urchins or shells to produce exact copies. The projects seem to set about letting nature take its course with natural folds and transformation from liquid to solid,  recognisable as the seashore treasures.

Captivated by a series of North American photographic prints by Edward S. Curtis “Modern Designs in Washoe Basketry” 1926. Large assortments of these prints featuring the people and their artefacts, are in the Chihuly studio and arranged with all the other treasures of cultural context.

Chihuly having often found solace with water, an aid to creativity. One of the childhood playgrounds was the shores of  Puget Sound, Northwest Coast where the Pacific Ocean mixes with the Salish Sea Washington state. Into adulthood having bank side work studios, as in Rhode Island and Seattle.

Bill Clinton presented the Queen of Netherlands with a  Chihuly gift marking the 50th jubilee of the Marshall Plan June 1997. This was one of the most historic ambitious recovery plans devised. Its aims were because of American Marshall realising that Europe needed help to rebuild itself after being savaged by World war II.

As with all Chihuly descriptions, this gifts description Bottle Green with Marigold Lip Wrap fit for a Queen. It is on loan to the Groninger Museum Holland, till the 5th of May 2019 by the Royal collections in the Hague.

20190413-seaform aqua sky blue bronze brown
seaform aqua sky blue bronze brown

Venice the city of water, history light architecture and romance.

To add to the scene, picture 1968 Chihuly studying in the Venini Glass Factory in Venice. To those who do not know, they opened the Venini glass factory in1921 and Venini became a 20th C design icons associated with Murano glass.  It is no surprise to learn that Chihuly believes that learning experience gained, changed his knowledge about glass blowing “forever” and reason to justify a deep connection with the location. They used the Venini glass complex in the James Bond film 1979 Moonraker with Roger Moore.

20 years later Chihuly was back in Venice

A 1988 invitation to view glass art deco 1920s-1930’s style, featuring the works of artists such as Alfredo Barbini, Vittorio Zecchin, Dino Martens, Napoleone Martinuzzi. These items were so rare, little in the form of glossy books or museum collections.  Snapped up by a select minority should they scarcely go up for sale. Collecting these items, therefore, an impossibility for most people, another reason this motivated the collector in Chihuly to create his own pieces.  Chihuly invited an Italian Glass artist to work with his team, to change things up,  no other than the fabulous Lino Tagliapietra.

So the Italian Art Deco glass looked very different to British, French American styles. The colours were less subtle. Taking influences from paintings again this time Renaissance Veronese, Titian and using the colours found in these classics to build Venetian Baroque style Vases.  Vamping up the vases to give them a Chihuly twist customised embellished.  Adorned ancient style with Flora, multiple looking handles, Flora, serpents, flames, twisting surrounding or extruding from the vase. As in the spirit of garden follies looking as if to hint antiquity and conventionality but prevailing as an object of beauty.

Venetian art works show at Kew 2018

  • Gilded Venetian with Dark Green Coil Blown glass  2001
  • Cadmium Yellow Venetian Blown glass 1991
  • Scarlet Venetian with One Coil Blown glass 1991
  • Silver Blue Venetian Blown Glass 1990
  • Terre Verte Venetian #203 Blown glass 1988
  • Silver opaline and black Venetian 1988
  • Gilded Venetian with cobalt blue coils 1992
  • Chrome Orange Venetian with Coils 1990
  • Venetian Drawing on mixed media on paper 1990

Reflections on Nature at Kew – Chihuly Venetians on display inside

  • Gilded Venetian with Dark Green Coil Blown glass  2001
  • Cadmium Yellow Venetian Blown glass 1991
  • Scarlet Venetian with One Coil Blown glass 1991
  • Silver Blue Venetian Blown Glass 1990
  • Terre Verte Venetian #203 Blown glass 1988
  • Silver opaline and black Venetian 1988
  • Gilded Venetian with cobalt blue coils 1992
  • Chrome Orange Venetian with Coils 1990
  • Venetian Drawing on mixed media on paper 1990
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x