Dale Chihuly | Cerulean Blue
Dale Chihuly

born 1941
Resides in Seattle, Washington
Photograph by Russell Johnson

Biography              Statement              In the Studio
Chihuly is a founder of the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington and has exhibited his work all over the world. He's been a Fullbright Fellow, an NEA Fellow, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California.


Statement

I was born in Tacoma Washington. My father was a butcher in Tacoma, and he became a union organizer. Both my brother and my father died when I was in high school. I probably wouldn't have gone on to college had it not been for my mother encouraging me to go to school.

I ended up studying interior design at the University of Washington, and then went to work for an architectural firm. In the meantime, I had started taking some weaving classes from Doris Brockway at the University.

I had this little studio in South Seattle. After doing the weaving, I started experimenting with melting glass, so I could weave these little bits of glass into the tapestries. I began to learn about how glass melted, and how you could fuse it together.

I went to work with Harvey Littleton at the University of Wisconsin and got a degree there in 1967. Spent a year blowing glass in Wisconsin. Only started making functional things for about 2 weeks at most. Didn't know anything about making art. Lasted in Wisconsin about 9 months, then went to the Rhode Island School of Design.

I was totally infatuated and completely absorbed in the concept of being a glassblower, because to see this bubble come out at the end of this blowpipe-- can you imaging how anybody every thought of doing that-- that you have to melt sand, any sand will work-- you have to melt and add some kind of flux-- you don't even need a flux if you got enough temperature, and it makes this extraordinary material. And then to think that somebody thought--how in the hell they did it nobody will ever figure out--that sticking something into it and blowing it--you can't blow any other material--can't blow plastic, bronze-- so, here it is this completely unique material, that's transparent, translucent, opaque, it's anything you want it to be almost, and then on top of that you can make the form with your own human breath-- just think about how strange and mysterious that whole process is...

1969 went to Venice Italy. I think it was also1969 that I returned to the Rhode Island School of Design. Even though I did not have an art background, I began to meet and work with a lot of artists.

In 1976 I got in a wreck in England and lot the sight of my eye, about the same time I quit blowing glass. That was the first year I had an exhibition at a gallery. I had worked for twelve years with glass before I ever sold any.


In the Studio

VIDEO (2.3 MB) || AUDIO (RA :27)

I feel like I'm actually a craftsman, a designer ... all of these things - maybe an artist . . .
I like working with people in a team . . . it gives me a lot of inspiration.

VIDEO (2.3 MB) || AUDIO (RA:27)


Wendell Castle Anthony A. Corradetti