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Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly Biography

born Tacoma, WA (USA) September 20,1941

Dale Chihuly (b. September 20, 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, USA) is an American glass sculptor.

Chihuly graduated from high school in Tacoma. Supported by his mother after his brother George's death in a flight-training accident in Florida and his father's death of a heart attack, he had no intention to continue his education until his mother convinced him to enroll at the College of the Puget Sound (now University of Puget Sound) in 1959. A year later, he transferred to the University of Washington at Seattle, where he studied interior design, architecture and glassblowing. In 1967 he received a Masters of Science in Glassblowing from the University of Wisconsin. In 1968 he received an Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later helped establish the school's glass program.

In that year he also received a Fulbright Fellowship, and went on to become the first American glassblower to work in the prestigious Venini Fabrica on the island of Murano. Along with several other glass artists, Chihuly founded the influential Pilchuck Glass School in 1971 in Stanwood, Washington.

Chihuly lives and works in his 25,000 square foot (2300 meter sq.) studio, nicknamed "The Boathouse" for its former use, on Lake Union. Since losing the vision in one of his eyes in an automobile accident in 1976, Chihuly (who wears an eyepatch) no longer has the depth perception necessary to handle the molten glass himself. Instead, he conceptualizes each project with paint and canvas and then employs a team of artists to do the work. In 1991, Chihuly began his Niijima Floats Series (see link below), some of the largest blown glass pieces in the world, at the Niijima International Glass Art Festival in Japan.

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  • 1941 - Born September 20 in Tacoma, Washington
  • 1959 - Graduates from high school in Tacoma
  • 1961 - Learns to melt and fuse glass.
  • 1963 - In a weaving class with Doris Brockway, he incorporates glass shards into woven tapestries.
  • 1966 - Attends University of Wisconsin at Madison, on a full scholarship, where he studies glassblowing under Harvey Littleton.
  • 1967 - M.S. in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin
  • 1971 - Pilchuck Glass School is created
  • 1976 - Automobile accident in England leaves him without sight in his left eye
  • 1977 - Begins the Basket series at Pilchuck
  • 1983 - Returns to the Pacific Northwest
  • 1986 - One of only four American artists to have had a one-person exhibition at the Louvre
  • 1988 - Chihuly begins Venetian series
  • 1997 - A permanent installation of Chihuly's work opens at the Hakone Glass Forest
  • 2002 - Installations for the Olympic Arts Festival at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games

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  • 1996 - Chihuly Over Venice, Venice, Italy
  • 1999-2000 - Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, Tower of David, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2001-2002 - Chihuly In The Park: A Garden Of Glass, Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2004 - Chihuly in the Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2005 - Gardens of Glass, Kew Gardens, London.
  • 2005 - Chihuly in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • 2005-2007 - Chihuly at Fairchild, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida
  • 2006 - Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2006 - Oisterwijk Sculptuur, Oisterwijk, Nederland
  • 2006 - New York Botanical Garden, New York, New York

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  • "The Baskets turned out to be one of the best ideas I have ever had. I had seen some beautiful Indian baskets at the Washington State Historical Society and I was struck by the grace of their slumped, sagging forms. I wanted to capture this in glass. The breakthrough for me was recognizing that heat and gravity were the tools to be used to make these forms."


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