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CHIHULY GLASS COLLECTION, ST PETERSBURG FLORIDA

Chihuly Glass  Collection- ST Petersburg Florida- USA
Dale Chihuly Mille Fiori (detail), 2010 10½ 33½ x 10½’
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center St. Petersburg, FL
Photo by Terry Rishel

CHIHULY GLASS COLLECTION, ST PETERSBURG FLORIDA

 

Have you ever heard of Chihuly Glass?
I never had.

 

Thus I was dumb-founded when I visited the Chihuly Collection in St Pete, Florida, recently and discovered that Chihuly Glass is internationally renowned art with major installations in Italy, Finland, Ireland, Mexico and the USA. Even more impressive are the utterly astounding glass works themselves. Dale Chihuly has crafted glass into an infinate variety of vibrant colors, shapes, sizes and groupings. Dale and his team of over 100 glass artists create chandeliers, glass ‘baskets’, balls ‘floats’, plates ‘Persians’, seashell like bowls ‘macchias’, spikes and twisting spires, all bursting in rainbow colors.

Chihuly Glass Collection-St Petersburg-
Chihuly display in lobby of Chihuly Collection, St Pete

 

I learned that “Chihuly is credited with transforming the methods of creating glass art and thereby leading the development of complex, multi-part glass sculptures and environmental art. However, his contributions extend well beyond the boundaries of the studio glass movement and even the field of glass: his achievements have influenced contemporary art in general. “

 

After viewing his Collection I was not surprised. Yet I had never even known that Chihuly glass existed! Talk about feeling like I’d been living in a bubble!

 

Chihuly Glass Collection-St Petersburg-
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts CenterPhoto by Al Hurley

 

Happily that’s all been remedied: I’ve had the privilege of viewing- well, gaping at- the phenomenal Chihuly Collection in St Pete. I highly recommend anyone who likes art/ glass/ interiors to beat a path to the Collection. Here’s what awaits you:

 

16 awe-inspiring glass installations. Each showcases a grouping of themed glass objects artistically arranged together. In fact, each piece could stand on its own as a beautiful, colorful highly-crafted work of art. Grouped together they create astounding visual experiences. Visitors are reduced to standing before the installations, eyes bugging, jaw dropping, uttering gasps and sighs, nearly shocked with awe at the overwhelming visual overload. It’s truly remarkable.

 

To perfect the collection, Chihuly worked in conjunction with architect Alberto Alfonso to create interior spaces custom-made for the installations. The result is a series of astounding glass compositions set in perfect display arenas.

 

Chihuly Glass Collection-St Petersburg- baskets
Dale Chihuly Baskets
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center St. Petersburg, FL
Photo by Scott M. Leen

 

As you enter the sleek interior you first come upon the ‘baskets’ collection- 12 ‘slumping’ glass pieces of milky white, beige and earth tones set on a long low woodblock and cast-iron table protruding from an opening in the wall of the adjacent room.

 

Entering that neighboring room, dubbed the ‘Persian Room,’ you first encounter ‘Persian Sunset’- a grouping of 20+ orange lotus-leaf shaped glass ‘plates’ set on the wall along a 20 ft. panel in glimmering hues of oranges, yellows and reds.
Opposite ‘Persian Sunset’ rests a collection of 8 Chihuly ‘Venetian’ vases in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, all with twisty spirals or curvy ‘handles.’

 

Beside the vases is a large showcase filled with ‘Seaforms’- a variety of delicate glass objects in white, beige, black and clear tones tossed together, bringing to mind underwater sea life.

 

Chihuly Glass Collection-St Petersburg-
Dale Chihuly Chandeliers
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts CenterSt. Petersburg, FL
Photo by Terry Rishel

 

 

Next, the ‘Chandelier Room’ displays 3 of Chihuly’s astounding and massive ‘Chandeliers.’ These are not lit from within but from strategically placed external lights. Nevertheless, the Chandeliers seem to be glowing internally. Hanging in this collection are a 12 ft blue spiraling Chandelier, a modest 4 ft rainbow squiggly chandelier and a 10 ft red spiky Chandelier. Each one consists of 400- 1000 individual glass forms which are individually attached by hand to the central stainless steel form to create a complex layered vision.

 

Off to the side is a small round room filled with 12 magnificent richly colored seashell shaped vases called ‘Macchia’ set on pedestals. The ‘Macchia’ also appear to glow from within, filling the room with patterned hues of reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues. (During my visit I got caught in a trance here gazing at the endless variety of tones, patterns and shapes filling the room)

 

Chihuly Glass Collection-St Petersburg -Boat Floats
Dale Chihuly Float Boat, 2010 3 x 4½ x 12’
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center St. Petersburg, FL
Photo by Terry Rishel

 

From there walk among the glorious chandeliers once more to reach, in my opinion, the most incredible installation of them all: a simple wooden row boat filled to overflowing with 140 colorful glass balls, ‘floats’, in various sizes and a rainbow of colors. The entire display is set on a sleek shiny black glass surface which reflects all the colorful balls back upwards. Wow!

 

After you’ve absorbed the serene beauty of  ‘floats’ continue on towards the finale piece. En route you walk through a narrow hallway where the clear ceiling is packed with a jumble of vibrant glass objects in all shapes, sizes and colors. Lit from above they glow every imaginable color, sending vibrant reflections around the hallway.

 

Chihuly Glass Collectin -St Petersburg - Dale Chihuly Mille Fiori

Chihuly Glass Collectin - St Petersburg -Dale Chihuly Mille Fiori

Dale Chihuly Mille Fiori, 2010 10½ 33½ x 10½’
Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center St. Petersburg, FL
Photo by Terry Rishel

Finally you enter the last installation room. Spread out before you is an entire room full of 4-10 ft tall glass spires, twists, curves and balls- a glass ‘flower garden’! This garden is also planted on a shiny black glass floor reflecting the colorful display.This room offers benches for visitors to sit and gaze at the garden. In my case the bench was a place to ‘recover’ from sensory overload and astonishment. Maybe you’ll have the same experience?

 

In any event, once you’ve had your fill of  the sheer beauty and brilliant design of Chihuly glass, shake yourself back into the world and… go tell your friends!

 

The collection offers free guided tours several times/ day and a free ongoing audio-video presentation about Dale Chihuly and the history / development of his astounding glass creations. The collection shop sells Chihuly glass art, books, postcards and other items about Dale Chihuly.
For more information, visit these websites:

 

You might also like the following posts on LashWorldTour:

St. Petersburg: Jewel in the Muck of Vacationland Florida
Salvadore Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Photo Gallery: Dali Museum
Photo Gallery: Waterbirds of Florida


2 comments

1 ping

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just came from here and loved it, anyone who loves art, please go!!! ;)

  2. LASH says:

    I couldn't agree with you more! It's astounding!
    Thanks for stopping by. cheers, Lash

  1. ST PETERSBURG FLORIDA: JEWEL IN THE MUCK OF 'VACATION LAND'- LashWorld » LashWorldTour says:

    [...] in St Pete and was simply blown away. To learn more about what you’ll experiencet here, read my take on the Collection, complete with professional photos of the Chihuly installations from the Collection’s press [...]

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