Book review: Dale Chihuly: 365 Days


chihuly 365Chihuly: 365 Days
by Dale Chihuly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dale Chihuly’s career as a master glass artist, now spanning four decades, is illustrated in this amazing book of 365 full color photographs featuring some of his most famous pieces. Included, also, is a running commentary of his views on creativity, productivity (he believes in eight-hour days with no lunch breaks) and the joy of being alive.

When Chihuly lost an eye in a serious auto accident and dislocated his shoulder soon after in a body surfing accident, he turned to a team approach to working with glass. He then was able to turn out immense works of art, some over fifty feet in length, constructed of blown and fabricated glass elements.

Color is primary to his creations. He says he never met a color he didn’t like, and his works explore a wide palette: bright green heron pieces in a river, a crystal chandelier of aquamarine and white, a boat filled with yellow, blue and red glass objects. Lighting of these glass art works is essential. Within a museum, the pieces seem to glow in a dark room. At a conservatory or a lake amidst plants, they peek out from the leaves adding explosions of yellow or red or magenta.

Chihuly explores other elements as well. In an exhibit at a Citadel in Jerusalem he exported 64 tons of ice blocks from Alaska to create an immense melting wall that both blended with the current architecture and symbolized a wall that no longer needed to exist.

Viewing the book is visceral pleasure and reading his philosophy is nourishment to the artistic soul.

Highly recommended.

Nothing is fixed in life’s changing pattern

San Francisco Peaks

Life at its best is a flowing, changing process in which nothing is fixed.
~ Carl Rogers

The San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona were formed from the jagged edges of a volcano that exploded many thousands of years ago. The Peaks rise to an elevation of over twelve thousand feet and are large enough to form their own weather pattern.

From July through September, each summer day creates massive thunderheads that explode lightning and heavy rain showers across the mountains. In the dry high-plateau air, the edges of the clouds are like cutouts against the blue sky.

I’ve spent many lazy summer afternoons watching these monster clouds build. They are a daily reminder that life is always changes.

Small things make all the difference

field daisies against lichenLife isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.
~Rose Kennedy

These ox-eye daisies found a home in the Coconino forest near Flagstaff, Arizona. No one had planted them, and the ground was poor and thin. Yet they thrived, moment to moment. If I went back there a year from now, a sister plant would have sprung up in their place. This was their spot, and the short mountain summer, their time to bloom.

Sometimes in my rush to accomplish good things, I forget to notice what is right under my nose. I miss the beauty that is there for the taking, if only I notice. This flower reminds me that I sometimes am too intent on the goal and forget the importance of the journey.