Five years after his record-setting first exhibition at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Dale Chihuly is back with new and re-imagined glass sculptures.
"Chihuly in the Garden" is the title of the display, which is part of Garden's winter celebration, Los Noches de las Luminarias.
Tom Lind, the studio’s project manager for exhibitions, is in charge of keeping the hectic production schedule in order. He’s also a lighting expert tasked with enhancing the artwork at night.
Each of the six or seven major installations is made up of thousands of pieces; the smallest sculptures consist of just eight to 10. For example, "Summer Sun" (three photos below) consists of 2000 red, yellow and orange hand-blown glass elements.
“All the sculptures are assembled once in the studio,” Lind said, “and then Dale looks at it. Do we make it bigger? Do we add red to it? Do we make changes to it? Improve it? Once Dale’s happy with it, we disassemble it, piece by piece, and pack it up.... (I)t’s pretty well-planned-out once it leaves the studio.”
Chihuly works with only a few materials, but he always pushes the boundaries of what those materials can do. Years ago, Chihuly and his team created a new type of polymer material to mimic glass.