Aug 042019
 
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Chihuly exhibition at Kew Gardens in London
Dale Chihuly’s Reflections on Nature exhibition at Kew Gardens in London, England illustrates why gardens make such a perfect setting for his glass art

The sculptures of American glass artist Dale Chihuly are impressive and breath-taking. His unique blown glass works include vases with undulating walls, layered glass panels, long-stemmed flowers, magnificent chandeliers, walls and ceilings of vibrant colour, and grand architectural installations. His works can be found on permanent display in assorted museums and other places around the world, including Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, and several places in Tacoma, Washington, where he grew up. Pieces also appears in special exhibitions in museums and gardens around the world.

Chihuly colourful ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas
One of my favourite Chihuly pieces: the ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas

At Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, I watched a short film in which Chihuly talked about his love of nature. He said that nature was the most perfect setting for his art. If you’ve ever seen one of his exhibitions in a garden, you may agree. In 2019, Kew Gardens in London hosts one of his exhibitions. The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew were founded in 1759. The original 3 hectares of this UNESCO World Heritage Site has grown to 121 hectares and contains the most comprehensive botanical collection on earth. At Kew, you’ll find gardens of various styles, woodlands, and conservatories. The 32 pieces in Chihuly’s Reflections on Nature exhibit are found in various places throughout the garden.

Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941. He became interested in glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington and continued studies at the University of Wisconsin, the Rhode Island School of Design where he established their glass program, and at the Veneni glass factory in Venice. His multidisciplinary team approach became particularly important after he lost sight in his left eye following a car accident. Three years later he dislocated his right shoulder in a body-surfing accident. He now relies on other artists to do the arduous work of glass-blowing for his designs.

Chihuly called glass the most magical of materials because of the way it transmits light. He works with light to enhance his pieces. His pieces are indeed magical.

Chihuly Niijima Floats glass art at Kew Gardens with view of the Great Pagoda in the background
Niijima Floats, (blown glass 1992 – 2008) with a view of Kew’s Great Pagoda in the background
Chihuly's Summer Sun glass sculpture amid plantings and trees at Kew Gardens
Summer Sun, 2010
The Temperate House at Kew Gardens with identical Chihuly sculptures one either side of the enrance
The white and gold colours of the pieces flanking the entrance to the Temperate House match the colours of the House
Chihuly glass sculpture in shades of blue hanging from ceiling in Temperate House at Kew Gardens
Inside the Temperate House hangs the Temperate House Persians, created especially for the Kew exhibition. Other Chihuly pieces sit amid the greenery in the House.
Close-up of the Chihuly blue glass hanging sculpture at Kew Gardens
Chihuly turquoise glass sculptures amid greenery inside the Temperate House at Kew
Turquoise Marlins and Floats, 2015
White Beluga boat sculpture inside Kew Gardesn Temperate House
Beluga Boat, blown glass and wooden boat, 2018
Yellow heron and reed glass sculptures by Chihuly amid the greenery of Kew Gardens Temperate House
Yellow Herons and Reeds, 2007-2013
Hanging Chihuly sculpture shaped as a ball of chartreuse cones
Chartreuse Hornet Polyvitro Chandelier, 2001
Chihuly red and copper glass reeds lining a walking at Kew Gardens

Cattails and Copper Birch Reeds, 2015
Chihuly purple and turquoise sculptures in the Mediterranean Garden at Kew
Neodymium Reeds and Turquoise Marlins in the Mediterranean Garden
A gallery at Kew Gardens display vases and other Chihuly pieces
There was also an indoor exhibit of vases and smaller Chihuly pieces
Chihuly bowls with scalloped edges at Kew Gardens
Chihuly Paintbrushes at Kew: yellow glass reeds with red tips
Paintbrushes, 2016
Red Chihuly reeds outside the Lily House at Kew Garden
Red reeds in front of the Lily House
Chihuly blown-glass white flowers rimmed with black steel on a lily pond at Kew Gardens
Ethereal White Persian Pond, 2018, in the Lily House was my personal favourite at the Kew Exhibition
Close-up of the Chihuly blown-glass white flowers on the lily pond at Kew Garden

The Chihuly exhibition at Kew Gardens runs until October 27, 2019. For information on other current and upcoming Chihuly exhibitions go to the Chihuly Exhibitions page of his website.

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Chihuly at Kew Gardens. Dale Chihuly Reflections on Nature exhibition at Kew Gardens in London, England illustrates why gardens make such a perfect setting for his glass art. #London #England #Chihuly #garden #glassart
Chihuly at Kew Gardens. Dale Chihuly Reflections on Nature exhibition at Kew Gardens in London, England illustrates why gardens make such a perfect setting for his glass art. #London #England #Chihuly #garden #glassart
Chihuly at Kew Gardens. Dale Chihuly Reflections on Nature exhibition at Kew Gardens in London, England illustrates why gardens make such a perfect setting for his glass art. #London #England #Chihuly #garden #glassart


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  6 Responses to “Chihuly At Kew Gardens”

  1. I saw Chihuly exhibits at the botanical gardens in both New York and Denver. Gardens like these are perfect places to present and enhance his works.

  2. He certainly creates some fabulous pieces!

  3. Love this post, Donna, as I, too, am a Chihuly fan. That lily garden in incredible!!!!

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