Home Artists Dale Chihuly 2000 Exhibition ARTIST STATEMENT
Dale Chihuly


Jade and Amber Spotted Desert Basket Set, 1999, 23x25x24The Baskets

The Baskets turned out to be one of the best ideas I have ever had. I had seen some beautiful Indian baskets at the Washington State Historical Society and I was struck by the grace of their slumped, sagging forms. I wanted to capture this in glass. The breakthrough for me was recognizing that heat and gravity were the tools to be used to make these forms.

Orange Soft Cylinder with Grey Rose Lip Wrap, 1992, 18x16x16 inchesSoft Cylinders

The essence of the Soft Cylinders is really at the point of the 'pick-up'. First, a very detailed glass drawing -- we call it a shard -- is prepared before the blowing starts. Then the glass shard is carefully placed on a hotplate with hundreds of glass threads all around the drawing. About halfway into the blowing process, right after the last gather of glass has been dipped from the furnace, the gaffer comes down on it with the glass and it fuses to the surface. This is the most exciting moment of making the Soft Cylinder. The shard may crack at this point and the glass threads go flying everywhere.

Spray Green Macchia with Lavender Lip Wrap, 1995, 26x36x31The Macchia

The Macchia series began with my waking up one day wanting to use all 300 of the colors in the hot shop. I started by making up a color chart with one color for the interior, another color for the exterior, and a contrasting color for the lip wrap, along with various jimmies and dusts of pigment between the gathers of glass. Throughout the blowing process, colors were added, layer upon layer. Each piece was another experiment. When we unloaded the ovens in the morning, there was the rush of seeing something I had never seen before. Like much of my work, the series inspired itself. The unbelievable combinations of color -- that was the driving force.

Spring Pink Persian Set with Bright White Lip Wraps, 1999, 9x22x21 inchesSeaforms

The Seaforms seemed to come about by accident, as much of my work does -- by chance. We were experimenting with some ribbed molds when I was doing the Basket series. The Baskets started looking like sea forms, so I changed the name of the series to Seaforms, which suited me just fine in that I love to walk along the beach and go to the ocean. And glass itself, of course, is so much like water. If you let it go on its own, it almost ends up looking like something that came from the sea.


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May 2000 Exhibition