Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seattle Center: Space Needle & Chihuly Garden & Glass

With the whole family together for Julie's graduation, we decided to head to Seattle City Center to visit the King Tut Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. Our group arrived at the ticket booth around 10:00am, ready and excited to see the exhibit. However, the young man sitting with a bored expression in the ticket booth, explained to us that the next available showing was at 5:00 pm. Disappointed and frustrated, we talked over our options for the afternoon. With nine people and a toddler, we wanted to be sure to make the right decision. Eventually we decided to stick it out, find something to do, and come back for the 5:00 pm showing. So bought our tickets, and began our adventure in Seattle City Center.
Joel walks behind Jaisha and Julie who are tossing Kaleb up in the air between them.
First stop we decided would be the Space Needle. A few individuals in our group had never been up the Space Needle; a shock to me, as I have been up several times.  So we bought our tickets and waited in line. It was a trick entertaining a one-year old with nothing but ourselves, but we did it and arrived at the top of the Needle without any melt downs. After spending about an hour walking around the observation deck, finding various well known Seattle icons in city below, and pointing out strange sights, we decided to head down below and find some lunch.
Playing with Kaleb while in line for Space Needle tickets.
Top Left: Joel - Bottom Left: Chris and Jackie - Right: Holli, Jaisha, Julie, and Kaleb
My new name is Jessie Odelle
The Whole Gang
Back Row: Dad, Julie, Joel; Center Row: Holli, Jaisha, Mom; Front Row: Me, Kaleb, Jackie, Chris
After lunch we decided to visit the newly opened Chihuly Garden and Glass.  I am so glad we decided to visit, it was amazing! There are eight rooms and three drawing walls in the Exhibition Hall, a Glasshouse, and a Garden.
The Glass Forest
The first room was the Glass Forest. This room features one of Chihuly's first large-scale installations and was created by standing on a ladder and lowering balls of hot glass to the floor.

"Baskets" from the Northwest Room
The next room, Northwest Room, features some of Chihuly's early experiments with glass. Inspired by the baskets and trade blankets of the Northwest Coastal Indians, the pieces in this room are striking. These are among some of the most delicate and brittle pieces in the entire exhibit.

The tower from the Sealife Room, with close ups of a shell and an octopus.
Joel and I in the Sealife Room
The Sealife Room, is a room that grabs your attention the moment you walk through the door. A large blue, white, and teal tower stands in the middle of the room with starfish, octopus, shells, and other sea life tucked in among the many tentacles of the tower. Around the edges of the room are smaller towers featuring additional creatures from the sea in various settings, placed between the charcol drawings Chihuly drew to communicate his vision for these peices. It was amazing to see how life-like these peices were. I left like at any moment the crab would start to move, it was so real.

The Persian Ceiling
In the next room, your eyes are drawn to the ceiling, where various forms and shapes are stacked and placed among each other to create a dazzling display of light, color, and depth. The light shinning through the display created beautiful shadows on the walls. The more you looked, the more you saw in this room, the Persian Ceiling.

Mille Fiori
Defiantly among my favorites, the Mille Fiori (Italian for "a thousand flowers"), is a reference to Chihuly's mother's love of gardening. This room felt a scene from Alice in Wonderland, there were so many exotic shapes, colors, and forms that I could have sat and become lost in this space for hours. The bright colors, movement of the shapes, and creativity was intensified with the black room and bright lights. Just breath taking.

The Ikebana and Float Boat
The Ikebana and Float Boat was another of my favorite rooms. I find the mixture of reality and fantasy intriguing.  According to the exhibits website, "Chihuly first filled boats with glass in 1995 as part of the Chihuly Over Venice project. After several days of glassblowing in Finland, Chihuly and the team made temporary installations along the Nuutajoki, the river nearby. He experimented with tossing glass forms into the river to see how the colored pieces would interact with water and light. As the glass floated away, local teenagers gathered them in small rowboats, and Chihuly considered a new type of installation. Chihuly has a longtime interest in wooden boats, and when the team found an old wooden rowboat, he filled it with glass parts he made in the Nuutajärvi factory. He has continued to develop the idea since." I found this space to be so magical.
White Chandelier and Blue Chandelier
The next room featured chandeliers and a tower of brilliant colors. My eyes danced along the form of each chandelier, different from the next in so many ways. The amount of effort, determination, and craftsmanship to create these peices was breathtaking. The curve and movement of each arm was showcased with the lighting and dark walls.

The Macchia Forest
The Macchia Forest room displayed the results of Chihuly's attempt to use all 300 colors available to him in his workshop. Each piece is a combination of many colors, different on the inside and out, created by rolling the molten glass in small shards of colored glass during the blowing process. It was surprising to see how different the same piece would look as you changed your perspective, never the same at different angles, this room continues to fascinate me.

A view of the Space Needle from the Glasshouse
From here, you enter the Glasshouse, the centerpiece of the Exhibition. Chihuhly is a lifelong admirer of glasshouses and this glasshouse was inspired by his two favorite glasshouses, Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. Hanging from the ceiling is a 100-foot long sculpture in reds, oranges, and yellows brilliantly enhanced by the sunlight through the windows. Beyond this sculpture is the space needle. I could have laid on the floor and watched the colors change as the day faded to evening, if only Joel would have let me.

Moving from the Glasshouse to the Gardens, you are transported to a magical place, where inanimate objects appear to take life. Beautifully mixed with plants and trees, Chihuly's pieces become so life-like that you almost believe they grew there themselves.

The bright colors against the black rooms, the shapes and textures, were amazing. It was intriguing to see glass formed into such fluid shapes, taking on an almost life-like presence. Room after room, my mind was surprised by something new and different to ponder over. I could find myself returning again and again to this exhibit. I really want to come back at night when everything in the garden is showcased with lights and the evening atmosphere. What a magical place! I remember my dad, a man who is at home on construction sites and baseball fields, saying, "I have never really understood art, but I really connected with this place." I agree.
I caught the reflections of Joel, Chris, and my Dad under the Space Needle on this ball from the Gardens.
Sometimes you have plans for your day, that are pleasantly and surprising side tracked for the better. I am so glad that we were not able to enter the King Tut exhibit when we had planned. If we had, we might not have visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass. I recommend everyone visits this wonderland!

No comments:

Post a Comment