More than just the home of Starbucks, Seattle and nearby Tacoma in Washington state are a Mecca for glass art. In every hotel, street corner, Seattle center, and all around the Seatac area are beautiful displays of glass. On many earlier trips I noticed the glass, but never knew the story.
On this visit to Seattle I found myself in Tacoma for 4 days and 3 nights in the middle of my Seattle visit. I remember driving through and around Tacoma, but this was the first time that I spent more than a few hours there. Over the course of these few days, I discovered a few things.
1) Chihuly is a guy. I have seen the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens, and I always (incorrectly) assumed it was a type of glass. Nope it is a guy, while a rather distinctive style.
2) Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma. Born in Tacoma and studied in the Tacoma/Seattle area.
3) Chihuly’s glass art is on every street corner, on display in hotels, and convention center in Seattle and surrounding areas. Seriously, we could not turn a corner without seeing a glass display by Chihuly, or inspired by.
4) Dale Chihuly is the most interesting person from Tacoma.
5) The most interesting thing to do in Tacoma is to visit the Museum of Glass and the Chihuly Glass Bridge pedestrian walkway from “downtown” Tacoma to the museum.
Overall, the glass art on display in public is just as good, and in many ways better, than the museum displays.
The Hot Shop is really what makes the Museum of Glass worth visiting. In the Hot Shop, there is a team of glass blowers working on various projects.
I watched several individual projects like the glass Zebra created in a matter of minutes, to team projects that took 3 guys over a hour. The “resident” glass artist is invited or can apply for a residency of a couple days up to weeks to work in this amazing facility.
On my particular visit, the resident artist is Jason Christian, a team of professional artists, and a MC with 10 years experience as a glass blower to narrate and answer questions. Sit down and watch them work, or walk around the cat walk for a better view.