Monday, March 2, 2009

Chihuly! The Nature of Glass

We have a unique opportunity to experience one of the most amazing glass sculpture artists work in the world. Dale Chihuly’s The Nature of Glass exhibition at the Desert Botanical Garden. This exhibition has toured numerous world class museums and botanical Gardens all over the world and now it’s here. I think it’s a must see and besides, March is an awesome time to visit the Garden.
You can read a Bio of Dale Chihuly here and some info on the show here.

Here my wife and children pose near the entrance.
I think it is interesting to note that Dale Chihuly studied Interior Design and Architecture at University of Washington Seattle in the 60’s but became captivated with the process of blowing glass. I think all Landscape Designers and Architects love Sculpture. Many of us practice some sort of art as a hobby and since sculpture is three dimensional, maybe it feels more familiar to us. We all love to incorporate art and sculpture into our designs and this exhibit has some great examples to learn from.

His works displayed at the Desert Botanical Garden are all very organic and vibrantly colorful. Chihuly’s works are alive with energy and movement. You will be awed at the scale of some of his works like, “The Sun” (just above) in the Ottosen Entry Garden. Some works compliment the natural surroundings while being the focal point, others are meant to be radical contrasts that introduce a completely new meaning. Chihuly says, “Over time I developed the most organic, natural way of working with glass, using the least amount of tools that I could. The glass looks as if it comes from nature”. He also says many of abstract flower and botanical forms are reminiscent of his mother’s garden in Tacoma.

I’m sure one or two are tongue-n-cheek, but I’m not telling which. You’ll have to discover them for yourself. The only thing that had me worried was the boats. Yes boats, old wooden row boats full of stunningly beautiful glass globes. I’m sure boats have a more important meaning in the Pacific Northwest then they do in the Sonoran Desert. So although I think the boats should have been left on the trucks, the glass is amazing. Don’t miss it.

The Chihuly exhibit will continue thru May 31st, but March is an amazing time to tour the Garden. The spring Butterfly event starts on the 7th, too. So that the Garden doesn’t become over crowded and your experience is more enjoyable, you will need to make a reservation before attending. Now that it is warmer, I’m sure the evening shows will fill up fast, too. Enjoy your trip to the Garden.


  1. We also had a great time at this exhibit and intend to go again. I love, love, love the DBG. It is one of the better things about living where we do don't you think? :)

  2. Oh, that sounds great! Wish I were there... I think art is so important in a garden (though I might pick something less fragile).

  3. I really love the DBG. Being a member is really nice if you love plants. You can pretty much come and go as you please. As a member I can leave when my wife and kids get bored and come back later by myeslf. ;-)

  4. Nice blog. I love the pics. I grew up in Tempe, I sometimes miss the desert.

  5. It's colorful and placed perfectly. I would enjoy seeing it and visiting often if I lived there.

  6. Craig: February and March are amazing, July probably not so much, ha ha.

    Anna: The DBG is like a Mecca for us desert garden geeks. The whole place is like a sacred space. It isn't formal like many gardens, but an interesting contrast of built and natural.