Truly “Chihuly”: The Beauty is in the Eye of the Glass Beholder

Both images featured are from an untitled group from the Macchia Series (1982).

Dale Chihuly (Born September 20, 1941 in Tacoma, Washington) is an American glass sculptor. In 1960, Chihuly was studying interior design at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he learned how to melt and fuse glass. Without finishing this course, he transferred to studying art in Florence, Italy in 1962.

  • The following year, after travelling to the Middle East, Chihuly returned to his studies where he received an award for his work from the Seattle Weavers Guild in 1964.

Chihuly graduated from the University of Washington in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design where he began experimenting with glass-blowing and in 1966 received a full scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He then studied under Harvey Littleton, who had established the first glass program in the United States.

  • In 1967, Chihuly received a Master of Science degree in sculpture. He then enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design the following year and was awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant for his work in glass, as well as a Fulbright Fellowship.
  • Chihuly traveled to Venice to work at the Venini factory on Murano, where he first saw the team approach to blowing glass. After returning to the U.S., he spent the first of four consecutive summers teaching at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.
  • In 1971, with the support of John and Anne Gould Hauberg, Chihuly co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. He also founded the Hill Top Artists program in Tacoma, Washington at Jason Lee Middle School and Wilson High School.

Sadly, in 1976, whilst in England, Chihuly was injured in a head-on car accident during which he flew through the windshield. His face was severely cut by glass and he was blinded in his left eye. After recovering, he continued to blow glass until 1979 when he dislocated his right shoulder in a body-surfing accident. No longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe, he hired others to do his work.

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