Chihuly Art Glass Boats on a Mirror

Chihuly art glass boats on a mirror

If Dale Chihuly is all about excess (of volume, colour, scale – virtuosity even), his Seattle Garden and Glass Museum is all about staging. The dramatic presentation made this installation of art glass one of the highlights of Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.

Chihuly boat with glass orbs

Wooden boats, overflowing with treasure, rested eerily on lake-like mirrors. Perfectly directed spotlights set the glass glowing and gleaming in the dimly lit room. Shadows rippling down the rear wall heaped on the visual complexity.

I love this piece of artwork – its patterns and planes; the way it seems to float; its opulence and fragility. The stillness.

The mind is tempted by the floating effect to group, then isolate, and even to weigh the objects (which is real and which reflected? – surely they are heavier than they appear?) so we imaginatively get to grips with what we see.

It makes me smile to remember that when I saw the subject of this week’s challenge was mirror my immediate thought was “I’ve got nothing for that… I’ll skip it”.

Butterflies feasting on a banana

Turns out I’ve got this shot too, taken in the butterfly house at this summer’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show: almost a mirror image.

Mother Nature might not have got round to art glass (well, not directly, anyhow) but she’s got all the elements down. The colours, rippling patterns and eye-like orbs have all the drama and fascination of the art glass, in softer, living forms.

30 thoughts on “Chihuly Art Glass Boats on a Mirror

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Funny, I just posted very similar shots in my Chihuly Glass visit to Seattle a few weeks ago. I too chose the boat with glass balls which I thought was amazing. Excellent choices for the week!

    • susurrus says:

      The boat was my favourite too from the inside ones. They were preparing for some kind of event so we could only see the massive, tumbling orange and yellow design from the outside – it was great to get a better view from your post.

  2. simoneharch says:

    I would love so much to see that exhibition – if only I had a trip to the US planned. 😦 Thanks for posting – I’m enjoying the experience through you! Simone

    • susurrus says:

      I hope one day you’ll find yourself there, but as you say, that’s one of the great things about blogging – we get to see many more places than we’d get round to on our own.

    • susurrus says:

      I was thinking with that plastic cloth, the colours, flowers and butterflies, it’s the most kitsch picture I’ve ever taken, but then I remembered one of a massive vase of cut flowers on a fairground carousel… haven’t got around to posting that one yet. I wonder if they’ll ever have a weekly photo challenge: kitsch? That would be so much fun!

  3. tjparis says:

    What a fantastic shot! So beautiful. We used to have a butterfly house at Perth zoo but the temperatures here made it impossible to maintain. Sigh. 🙂

    • susurrus says:

      You might not have the butterfly house, but you don’t seem to be short of colourful wildlife. Your picture of the deadly octopus is engraved on my memory!

    • susurrus says:

      He does. I’m not sure he’s as well known in the UK, but then we use glass much less often in our gardens. I did visit a Lancashire glass blower recently who has made some large, Chihuly-like pieces.

      The RHS had really staged the butterfly picture by leaving out the overripe bananas. It did take a little patience, but nothing approaching the challenge of taking a similar shot outside in a garden.

    • susurrus says:

      Yes, they’re mine, though I imagine many people who have visited the exhibition will have taken their own version. I don’t think I saw anyone there without a camera of some kind!

    • susurrus says:

      Thanks Charlie. The garden there is the main reason we wanted to go though I haven’t posted about that yet. You’re lucky to have the chance to see it at different times of the year. It must be lovely to track the changes from spring to winter – I’m off now to google pictures of the garden in winter!

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