A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee for the outdoor exhibit of Dale Chihuly. Once a year, the American, glass sculptor, picks one garden to feature his very large-scale pieces of glass. We were excited about this, because we have never been to a Chihuly event and never been to Cheekwood Gardens either. Today, I will feature some of the Chihuly pieces and in another post, the Cheekwood Gardens. My, look at this!
After dropping out of several universities, because he was uninterested in his studies and not sure what he wanted to do, he traveled to Florence, Italy and the Middle East, becoming more interested in glassblowing. By 1966, when he came back the US, he enrolled in a program at the University of Wisconsin, to study under Henry Littleton. There, Chihuly went on to receive a Master of Science degree in sculpture. Following that degree he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and in 1968, received a grant for his work in glass. He traveled to Venice, Italy, to work in the Venini factory on the island of Murano, where he learned the team approach to blowing glass. Upon returning to the United States he taught his craft at various schools.
These pieces are huge, you can not miss them. Our tickets were for dusk and as it got darker the glass pieces were lit up. I am glad we toured the garden at this time, because we could see how well the glass pieces complimented the garden, where they were placed. And, then we could also see them lit up! Some pieces were in open areas and some in the Woodland areas.
I had to get up close and personal to see how the glass was placed. There is a large metal frame for the “tree features” and the glass is placed, one at a time in each socket. Very similar to putting up a Christmas tree. I can’t imagine the packing detail this would take for all the pieces to arrive intact! How long would it take to put a piece like this together? A long time I would think, and are the pieces of glass numbered somehow?
One feature, was made for a water display . There were pieces, big and small, to be found in this 55-acre garden.
Many bold colors of glass, especially the reds and yellows were easy to find……………
But, there were other interesting pieces that surprised you!
In 1976, while Chihuly was in England, he was involved in a head-on car accident, which propelled him through the windshield of the car. His face was severely cut by glass and he was blinded in the left eye. He continued to blow glass, after he recovered, but in 1979 was severely hurt again and thereafter had major shoulder issues. No longer able to hold the glassblowing pipe, he hired others to do the work. In a 2006 interview he stated, “Once I stepped back, I liked the view.” He said it allowed him to see the work from more perspectives and enabled him to anticipate problems earlier. His new role has been described as, “more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, and more director than actor.” We hope he will continue his beautiful works in glass!
Well that is all for this week! Have a great week in your garden!
The instructions for SOS are easy. The photos can be flowers, vegetables, a garden design, whatever, as long as it’s garden related and posted on Saturday! So, its six photos. Of Gardens. On Saturday. Easy Peasy. To see all the SOS’s look at SIX ON SATURDAY, hosted by the Propagator, to check out all of them each Saturday! See you next week in another spot!