VENETIANS: Inspired by Venetian Art Deco vases, Chihuly began the Venetian series with Italian glass blower Lino Taglapietra in 1988. Each Venetian seems to have a character of its own, with flamboyant attachments, which are sometimes humorous, and often derived from the history of Venetian glass.
“The Venetians are unlike anything Chihuly has created. Using a refined and symmetrical shape as the core (rare for Chihuly, whose design manner is generally free-form and unorthodox), extravagant surface ornamentation of glass bitwork is added until the core is overwhelmed by these luxuriant growths.” – Ron Glowen from the essay Venetians
IKEBANA: Ikebana pulls from the Japanese tradition of flower arrangement for its inspiration but Chihuly, as in the Venetians series, has taken that tradition and interpreted it in a way that is uniquely identifiable to the Chihuly’s style. With Ikebana, scale has taken precedent and for this series, Chihuly designed large scale pieces of glass sculpture, some reaching six feet in height. The “vases” which hold the flowers are intricately colored and are, in general, rounded and symmetrical. The flowers themselves, however, are free formed with baroque twists and spirals governing the stems. The flower heads flaunt shapes and colors almost alien in their botanical exuberance.