For me, the appeal of seeing the works of this world-renowned glass sculptor was more than just seeing great art up close. As a fellow RISD grad, I studied his work closely at school. And in my junior year I was fortunate enough to take a 1 day workshop on glass blowing and his inspirations with Mr. Chihuly himself. It was a truly inspirational event in my life.
H had visited this collection before and could not wait to experience it with me. The kids on the other hand wanted to check out the aquarium and considered one time at the Chihuly Collection enough. As you will read, both our activities will become related.
When we first walked in we were greeted by a cool bit of information: We could take pictures! Of course, I was kicking myself for not bringing my good camera but I went to town nonetheless with my iPhone camera.
The first room had painting sketches by Chihuly. I was excited that I immediately found Nemo LOL.
Trust me when I tell you that these pictures don’t even come close to the experience of seeing these things in real life. The scale and craft and color and organic forms are just breathtaking. And anyone who has glassblown before knows that this ain’t easy either.
But here’s the craziness of them all…the most beautiful part was not the glass. It was the reflections and shadows of the glass.
The gallery was designed by award-winning architect Albert Alfonso and his use of wood, steel, and curved walls that mimic the organic glass forms is really nice.
You see, for every amazing piece like this:
You have the expert lighting that shines down…
And the shadows it casts on the walls…
And the gorgeous reflections on the floor.
When we met up with the kids later in the afternoon they were on a mission and ready for action. During their trip to the St. Pete Pier they discovered that there are plans to tear it down and create a brand new one. Despite my thoughts on the matter (the new one seems pretty awesome) they were angry and ready to make a difference.
All they could talk about was how they needed to help save the Pier. That they needed to save jobs. And that they needed to tell the mayor.
They got to work immediately and came up with handwritten pleas to the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, Bill Foster. Here’s what my daughter came up with:
I couldn’t help but think of my wife and how her influence in fighting for what you believe in played a part in their belief they can change the world. This belief and their action is similar to the reflections of light off of the Chihuly glass. The amazing combination of art and it’s impact on it’s surroundings reminds me of them. For our kids are the art for the world to see. And my wife is the light that shines down on them. The reflections and shadows are what my kids and every human being offers to this world.
I find it interesting that for all the amazing glass my wife and I saw today, my favorite picture that I took from our visit was this one.
It features a bench in almost complete darkness. Just a hint of light reflected off of some of the Chihuly glass pieces can be seen. And this small hint of light makes the bench visible and welcoming for those who need it. To me, this looks like hope. We need more lights in this world to shine down on our children.