Born in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly studied with Harvey Littleton, founder of the studio glass movement, at the University of Wisconsin and received an M.F.A. degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1968. Chihuly was a co-founder of the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, and is former director of the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design. He currently works in Seattle, where he collaborates with and directs a team of glassblowers to produce his signature chandeliers, sea forms, baskets, and cylinders.
Among his many honors are the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 1967 and a Fulbright fellowship to Murano, Italy, in 1968. In 1993 Chihuly designed stage sets for the Seattle Opera Companys production of Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande. In another site-specific installation, Chihuly traveled to Italy to display his massive chandeliers over Venetian canals in a 1996 exhibition entitled Chihuly Over Venice.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)
Dale Chihuly founded Pilchuck Glass School in 1971. A venue for both established artists and new students, Pilchuck is now the world’s primary education center for glass art. Chihuly studied interior design and became interested in glass while trying to incorporate glass fibers within wall hangings. He has worked with a team of glassblowers, or gaffers, since he lost the sight in one eye in a car accident in 1976. His energetic studio is charged with heat and noise. As his head gaffer explains: “We’re like an orchestra, Dale doesn’t play an instrument, but he’s the guy up front with the baton.”