Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chihuly in the Desert

If you were to walk into the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, you would be greeted by two hand-blown glass creations of Dale Chihuly. The first is an original work created for the Botanical Garden exhibit entitled: Chihuly: The Nature of Glass.

You may recognize the second work. It was featured in the Salt Lake City Olympics and presents quite an impressive welcome to the large daily crowds.

The Desert Botanical Garden is described as "home to one of the world's finest and most diverse collections of succulent plants, including rare, threatened and endangered species." It covers 145 acres and has more than 50,000 plants on display.

The desert garden appears much as it did decades ago when it covered much of what is present-day Phoenix and the surrounding cities.

During the period of the exhibit, visitors are admitted at three different times each day. Each entrance time (8 a.m., noon, and 4 p.m.) enables people to spend four hours touring the park.

However, four hours is simply not enough time.

Not enough time to digest the information on the numerous varieties of cactus plants on display.

Not enough time to search for the many small flowers that can be missed on a rush to the next work of glass.

And not enough time to wonder at the creations of Dale Chihuly.

Born in 1941, he studied glass at the University of Wisconsin and the Rhode Island School of Design. On a Fulbright scholarship, he studied at the Venini glass factory in Venice in 1968.

Chihuly observed, "Over the years, I developed the most organic, natural way of working with glass, using the least amount of tools that I could. The glass looks as if it comes from nature."

There was simply too little time to record names of cacti and flowers, but we hope the photos convey the beauty in the combination of the desert and Chihuly's glass.

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