My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PNW Road Trip: Day 3, Pt 1: Seattle's Chihuly Garden & Glass

Welcome to Part 1 of Day #3 of our Road Trip from Sheridan, WY to the Pacific Northwest!

We awoke to another beautiful day and also another busy one, this time getting together with our Seattle friends Ken and Andrea. We drove to their adorable house in their lovely neighborhood so we could park our car in their garage for the day. After getting acquainted with sweet Callie and enjoying a fun tour of their place, we got in their car and headed for the first place on our itinerary...


I'd wanted to see a Chihuly exhibit since first seeing Dale Chihuly's work in an online article about the ceiling in Las Vegas' Bellagio Hotel and Casino. So when I learned about the new permanent exhibit of his glass creations that opened just last year in Seattle, it got the #1 spot on our Seattle Sight-Seeing Wish List!

I hadn't realized the Chihuly exhibition was located right by the base of my beloved Space Needle, so you can probably imagine how excited I was at the fun photo ops that provided...

The Space Needle reflected in the Experience Music Project Building at Seattle Center
(take a quick look at the entire building - it's really quite something!)

From out of the bright, hot sunshine we walked into the Chihuly Glass Exhibit Hall - and into another world, one that was magical, vibrant with color, and reverently hushed despite the crowds. I've linked to the Chihuly Garden and Glass web site and virtual tour at the end of this post, but since their professional photos taken under ideal conditions put mine to shame, I wanted you to see mine first to avoid beginning with unfavorable comparisons. ;-) (I'll also link to Andrea's post about our day together when I publish Part 2). 

I'll leave most of the informative stuff to the official Chihuly web sites and mainly just let you enjoy all the eye candy (as always, click on any photo for a larger version), starting with the first room on the tour...

Glass Forest:

Created by taking a large blob of white glass from the furnace and dropping globbets of it from the top of a ladder, the shapes were then illuminated with neon. 

Northwest Room:

Glass "Indian Baskets" and a wall of woven trade blankets

Sealife Room:

20-foot high "Sealife Tower"

"Sealife Tower" detail

The Persian Ceiling:

Similar to the Bellagio ceiling that inspired our visit, this was my favorite room in the Exhibit Hall. The walls are bare and white so you can focus on the gorgeous, illuminated ceiling with its sea creatures both real and fanciful,  and also enjoy its colorful reflections on the walls. (The upper photo was taken without the flash, while this one that shows a bit of the walls was taken with the flash)...

Mille Fiori:

BW (lugging my camera bag, bless him) poses at one end of "Mille Fiori"

Inspired in large part by Dale's mother's flower garden he played in as a child

Ikebana & Float Boat:

These glass pieces were inspired by Ikebana, the minimalist, disciplined Japanese art of flower arrangement, and Dale's childhood spent beach-combing for Japanese floats in Tacoma, WA.

Float Boat

The installation itself was inspired by Dale's time in the '90's at the glass factory in Finland (where many of his glass creations are made), when he took to tossing finished glass pieces from a bridge by the factory into the river where local kids would retrieve them using wooden row boats. Dale liked how his glass pieces looked in the wooden boats, and so designed this display! 

Ikebana Boat detail

Described in the audio tour as the "wildly Baroque chandeliers," I love their whimsical playfulness (though I can't picture one suspended over our dining room table!):-)

Want a Chihuly chandelier installed in your home? No problem! (Just $$$. Lots of it)...

Macchia Forest:

The idea for these pieces sprang from the sudden availability of hundreds of new colors of German glass and Dale's desire to incorporate them all! ("Macchia" is Italian for "spotted.")

After touring the exhibit hall we headed outside into the glass gardens, once again finding ourselves at the base of the photogenic Space Needle...

The Space Needle and "Yellow Sun" sculpture

I just couldn't be this close to the Space Needle and not take several photos. :-)

"Yellow Sun"
with the Glasshouse on the left and Space Needle on the right

The 100-foot long, 25-foot high suspended sculpture in the 40-foot tall Glasshouse

That's Andrea on the right (and the back of Ken in the purple shirt)
And here's a closeup of the tall "Green Icicle Tower" you can see up ahead...

See the crescent moon to the lower left of the Icicle Tower? :-)

Since I'm often accused of being too camera-shy (guilty as charged), in my vacation posts I'm trying to make up for always being behind the camera by sharing a few photos that caught me in front of it for a change. (But that doesn't mean I won't resort to camouflage to try to hide myself, like in this one where my shirt blended with the blue and purple reeds, floats and fiori of this section of the glass garden!)...

And it seems to only be on vacation trips that BW and I appear together in photos. This one comes to you courtesy of Andrea (and won't be the last one of us together in a garden of purple on this vacation!)...

A little moment of PDA in the PNW among the purple neodymium reeds :-)

We'll explore more of Seattle in my next post before heading to Port Angeles for the ferry to Victoria, but for now I must make another road trip - this time up to Havre, Montana to visit my Mom for a few days. 

Till then, please enjoy exploring more of Chihuly Garden & Glass on their web site and on their virtual tour, and of course, enjoy exploring the world's amazing skies at...

Other PNW Road Trip Posts:

Day #1, Part 1: Butte
Day #1, Part 2: Missoula-Idaho-Spokane


  1. Oh be still my heart - CHIHULY!!!!
    And you did so well with getting so many good shots - glass is so hard to photograph without those annoying reflections getting in the way.


    1. LOL - I figured you'd really like this one! :-) Aren't his glass works of art stunning?

      Thank you, I was pleased with most of them, given my limitations. Thankfully, I have a great camera. I just had to turn off the flash and hold it as still as possible, and sometimes wait an awfully long time for people to step out of the way! (That was the hardest part for me, lol). At least people in the photos do add a sense of scale to some of the pieces and displays.

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Wow. You really did take a lot of photos! They all look so pretty it makes me want to go back and see the whole thing again! (Hint, hint.) My favorite photo, though, is the last one — you two look great! As for my favorite part of the museum, it was definitely the Persian ceiling, though the green icicle tower was at the top of the list of "things I wish I could take home." I'm actually looking forward to your review of Someday Farm because we're going there next week.

    1. Left quite a few on the cutting room floor, too, believe it or not!

      You do know you don't have to wait for another visit from us to go back and see Chihuly, right? LOL I remember your saying in your post about it that the Persian ceiling was your favorite, too. I really loved the Mille Fiori and Float Boats too, but the celing was a no brainer for me. I think the Yellow Sun was my favorite outdoor one. Speaking of the photos that ended up on the cutting room floor, I have a great one of the green icicle tower I'll email to you soon (hectic day today with lots going wrong and I'm feeling very overwhelmed).

      If you're going to Someday Farm next week, you're own review about it will have long been archived before I ever get mine published! My Victoria and Whidbey material is overwhelming - you think I took a lot of Chihuly photos, you should see those two collections. Anyway, I'm envious, I'd give anything to be back there again right now (and forever!) Tell Jill and Dave we said hello and send our love - you're going to really enjoy their place! Are you staying for a week or just a couple of days?

    2. We're waiting for you before we go back. :D I posted very few of my photos — had a ton to choose from, and it was hard. We're going to the b&b for two days — if you have any things we MUST do, and you have a minute of time, I'd love an email!

    3. Well then I wish I could tell you that you won't have long to wait, because we want to get back there asap - but also want to visit Portland and the Oregon coast, and make a trip up to Glacier, and there are only so many vacations we can take before BW retires and we hopefully MOVE to Whidbey (or at least onto a boat where we can explore the area for a year or two before settling down somewhere - imagine sailing into Seattle to return to Chihuly! Cool.) :-)

      Just sent you an email fulfilling your request and sending you that other Green Icicle photo, which made me wish all over again I could have added it to this post! :-)

  3. I'm SO jealous that you got to see the Chihuly garden! Very exciting that it was by the Space Needle, too. There was a display at one of the museums around here lately that I just found out about. I'm hoping we can make it there before it goes away because I just adore his work.

    It's impossible for me to pick a favorite, but the Float Boat comes pretty close. That ceiling is absolutely gorgeous, as well. So incredible! There's a similar artist that made ginormous "chandeliers" for an insurance company here (you can see a picture of them here-

    That's a great picture of you and your shirt certainly does complement the work perfectly! I also love the picture of you & BW. You're so cute together!

    I hope you have a good trip to Montana. I'll be looking forward to the next post when you get back!

    1. Oh, I hope you can make it there in time too!

      I loved those Float Boats too - and just remembered that BW suggested I mention the scale at them, so people didn't think they were small, with tree ornament sized floats! But I forgot to, and am too burnt out on blogging right now to even go back and add it! Anyway, they were full-sized row boats. Those floats were huge! Thanks for sharing the link to the insurance company's "chandeliers" (the things they spend customer's premiums on!) They remind do remind me of Chihuly's work, and also of giant sea urchins!!! :-) Very fun!

      Thanks for the compliments, Molly - I still don't like being in photos though. :-) My shirt matched the glass better in person than in these photos, some of which made my shirt more purple or the glass more blue than I remember them being. There was a fun woman who was near us most of the time who was wearing black and yellow-gold clothing, and she blended right in with the black and yellow-gold garden area (which I don't think I even photographed, the bright sunlight was making it difficult) - we laughed about our "Chihuly designer camo outfits." :-)

      Thanks, I hope it's a good visit. They are very unpredictable, as you can imagine! Willow paid her first visit to a groomer today so she'd be all clean and pretty (and hopefully not shedding quite so much) in the car and at Grandma's - she looks so beautiful and feels so soft! The groomer said she couldn't believe it was Willow's first groomer visit, she was so good and was her favorite dog of the day! That's our angel. :-)

  4. Hi! How beautiful you are! Your smiling face is vey charming. The glass fine arts are very fabulous. All of these are very fantastic.
    Your reflection photo of the tower is very cool too. Does BW mean your husband? He looks very handsome.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi, Minoru! Thank you, you are MUCH too kind!! :-) I'm glad you enjoyed the glass pieces, I think they are fantastic too! And I love that reflection of the Space Needle. It's such a photogenic piece of architecture, and such a Seattle landmark and symbol. Yes, BW is my husband's nickname, it's the initials of his first and middle names. Most of us who know him just call him "Bee Dub." :-) He thanks you very much for your nice compliment, too! (And I agree with you!) :-)

  5. Jealous thoughts of your very beautiful self. We had a Chihuly exhibition in our National Gallery some years ago - and we loved it and went back again and again. One of the exhibits was a glass ceiling, over which dozens of his smaller pieces were laid. I lay on the floor gazing upwards and drooling. And (shamefully) set off the alarms repeatedly at other pieces as I leaned in to wonder at the beauty he creates.

    1. You're too sweet, and have no need to be jealous. My many wrinkles and gray hairs don't show up at this distance. :-)

      How wonderful that you got to enjoy a Chihuly exhibit! Shipping all that glass around the world can't be easy, but I'm glad it gets done so more people can enjoy his designs in person. Did the glass ceiling look like the one I photographed? Having gotten to see his displays with my own eyes now, I am not surprised at the effects (drooling and criminal mischief, lol) that they had on you!

    2. Yes, the ceiling did look like that. Sublime. I eavesdropped on two of the other people at the exhibit (who I probably unjustly despised) saying 'it isn't useful' 'you couldn't have it in a home' and felt so very sad for them. Beauty has a use of its own. And I would love to have a Chihuly piece - or three.

    3. Clearly the one who said, "it isn't useful" wasn't familiar with William Morris's famous quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (emphasis mine). And "You couldn't have it in a home" sounds like sour grapes to me! Speaking of having a Chihuly piece in one's home, did you see the article link I added this morning beneath the orange chandelier photo???

    4. I missed that link - thank you. And I will never have the money for it - but would love, love, love a Chihuly in the home.

  6. Howdy! I love all of Chihuly's work and you captured the Seattle exhibit beautifully. The Persian Ceiling looks just like the one we saw at the Franklin Park Conservatory in might be! His work is very awe-inspiring. I'm so glad the weather was nice that day. Can never get enough of the Needle. Did you go up top?
    Nice to see a pic or two of you guys....very cool! Where you off to on the next blog post? xoxoxo

    1. Howdy yourself, Spud-Muffin! :-) I must say, I feel like we must have been the last people to see a Chihuly exhibit in person! I'm amazed at how many of you are not only familiar with him and his work, but have seen it yourselves. I'm definitely late to the Chihuly fan party - but am no less appreciate of his creative genius for being tardy about it! :-)

      Nope, we didn't go to the top. Maybe next time. I was content to see the needle from all the different perspectives we got to enjoy. And we were so lucky to have that beautiful blue sky for a backdrop!

      Now if I told you where we're going next, it would ruin the surprise! :-) Actually, we'll be staying in Seattle for the next post, except for our foray to Port Angeles where we spent the night before catching the ferry to Victoria. Boy do I have my work cut out for me on those Victoria posts - but boy will it be fun! :-)

    2. I have a bunch of pics to send you at some point, and I'll include a few I took of "our" Chihuly's last year. I think I have a pic or two from the top some where in the can borrow them if you wish ;-). Looking forward to the next stop ;-).

    3. Would love to see them when we both have time! I kind of wish we'd gone up to the top, but time constraints made us have to forego a lot of stuff. Next time!!

  7. Hello Miss Laloofah!
    Haven't been able to get completely caught up on all your updates, but wanted to tell you how much I'm enjoying the pics, and how I'm looking forward to reading the details (can't help but check out your beautiful pics first! ;-) ). I hope you and your honey are continuing to enjoy your trip, and that you are both well!
    It's a little gloomy and overcast here in Portland this morning. We're headed out to the coast to see what weather's there :)
    I can't WAIT to see your Victoria pics...!!! Have a great time!

    1. Howdy, Miss Maya! :-)
      Can't say I blame you for wanting to sneak peeks at the photos first and come back for the details later - I am often a member of the "eat dessert first, life is uncertain" school of thought myself. :-) I wish we were still on vacation, but we've been home since 7/13. And no way would I have had time to put these posts together during our trip (or a computer with which to do so!) - it was all I could do to grind out a few postcards, we were keeping so busy having fun! :-) But we're sure enjoying reliving it through our photos and memories, and talking about not only our next trip out there, but also about retiring there in just a few short years!

      I hope your trip to the coast is wonderful, and spent in warm, bright sunshine!

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jim - loved your beautiful photo of the Sydney Opera House at sunset! Another gorgeous icon I'd probably take a bazillion photos of like I did Seattle's Space Needle! :-)

  9. Amazing glass artwork!

    1. Isn't it? He's quite the visionary. He hasn't actually done any glass blowing himself since injuring his shoulder in 1979, but he sure does know how to dream up and design gorgeous creations (and hire talented glass artisans!)

  10. Beautiful,never seen this type of glass art work before.

    1. I know, I think it's truly unique! But keep your eyes open, I wouldn't be surprised if a Chihuly exhibition came to Malaysia some time! His art does travel the world.

  11. Isn't Chihuly 's work just amazing! And your photography is so well done ~ Enjoy and thanks, carol, xo

    1. Yes it is! And thank you ~ it was a bit tricky in the dark building (though they've illuminated it beautifully) and even more so in the bright sunshine! Still, wouldn't have traded that beautiful sunny day for anything. Glad you enjoyed!

  12. Boy, those are some colourful sculptures!

    1. They really are, aren't they? And I love bright colors (apparently so does Dale Chihuly!) :-) Thanks for visiting and for following!

  13. Crazy looking glass - I'm not sure its my cup of tea - although I could get one in the cafe!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. A line of Chihuly glassware would be interesting. :-) I think they're lovely, but would NOT want to have to dust it (or worry about it!) And outdoors? Not with our hailstorms!

  14. Now this is definitely some delicious eye candy! Reminds me of being a kid at the Corning/Stuben Glass Works in NY. It's been years since that image of the glass blowers has come to mind... Thanks for the thrill of re-living it vicariously all over again!
    Glad you're having a ball! ;)

    1. You're most welcome! :-) I hadn't seen a glass-blower at work since visiting the village of Drumnadrochit, Scotland on the shores of Loch Ness, which had a little glass-blowing studio. I love to watch them at work, it's mesmerizing! Anyway, we got to see a team of women glass-blowers on Whidbey Island (in Coupeville, I think), and I'll be sharing that photo when we get there. (Which at the rate I'm going now, will be in 2014!) We did have a ball - July was a great month and August has been the opposite. No time nor desire to blog!

  15. Fun stuff!! Those colors are crazy!

  16. Wow...the glass is amazing!!! And yes, I'm so glad too, that you got IN FRONT of the camera for once ;-) Now I definitely want to check that exhibit out, next time I'm in Seattle. I know my girls will be ooh-ing and ahh-ing non-stop :)
    Hope you are having a lovely visit with your mom in Montana!

    1. It really is, and even more so in person. So definitely don't miss it on your next Seattle visit! You AND your girls will really enjoy it!

      Thanks - I got back a week ago, but just haven't been able to get back to the blog. We had a nicer visit than I'd expected to (Mom has dementia and a volatile personality), but it was also a very busy one with a stressful last day (Mom was really having a really bad brain day, and I was relieved when she was much sharper the next day when I talked to her) and that long, tedious drive. I took Willow with me, so at least I had good company!

  17. I’m dying to go home and go through my photos and compare what I’ve seen with what you’ve shown us here. I’m almost positive that I took photos of the Bellagio Hotel ceiling but I’m not 100% sure. I also KNOW that I took photos of some glass on the bridge of glass:
    Bridge of Glass Location
    The Bridge of Glass links downtown to the area along the Thea Foss Waterway, which is home to the Museum of Glass and several apartment and condo buildings. You can access the Bridge by walking through the area between Union Station and the Washington State History Museum. There is no charge to walk across the Bridge and view the incredible artwork along it—the largest public display of art in Tacoma by far.
    I’m sure that’s where I walked because we were trying to go to the Washington State Museum and had parked there but it was closed and this bridge was my consolation prize. I was so glad to see something since I was in the area.
    The pieces on the bridge were in individual sections so it wasn’t anything like what you saw inside. One of my favorites of what you took was Mille Fiori with its various shapes and heights of glass and those colors - amazing!
    I love the story about him throwing glass pieces in the river and the kids picking them up in their boats – how fun for them!
    I love the yellow sun in front of the space needle. It’s so delicate looking to be outside. I’m afraid I don’t have as much of an affection for the space needle as you but my dad does – he and mom went to visit it without me – he REALLY wanted to see it. I’ll have to look at my notes to remember what I wanted to see more!
    This was so much more than I would have thought it was and now I want to kick myself that we didn’t go see it. I figured it was a museum of glass bowls and vases and none of us were interested enough to go see it.

    I loved seeing a photo of the two of you together!!

    1. I'm guessing that your photos are at your Canton home. You're like one of those movie stars lately, with homes in several locations! ;-) Can't imagine you would be standing under the Bellagio ceiling with a camera in your hand and NOT take a photo of it, and I'd love to see your photos of the Bridge of Glass in Tacoma! Tacoma is Dale Chihuly's hometown, so I'm not surprised he's got displays of his work there. But you need not kick yourself for missing the Chihuly Glass & Gardens in Seattle, because it's only been there since 2012! I'm not sure if some of the displays were in a different Seattle location before, but I get a feeling that the gardens, at least, may be unique to this location.

      How could anyone NOT love the Space Needle, your dad and I wonder??? :-)

      I'm glad you enjoyed the rare and elusive sighting of BW and me together in a photo. :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

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