#6 visit an art exhibition: chihuly garden & glass

As soon as I read about Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle as part of our cruise research, I knew it was a must visit. Situated next to the iconic Space Needle, the museum is a showcase for the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly. I remember seeing the glass ceiling at the Bellagio in Vegas and thought it was brilliant.

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The museum is organised into separate galleries that holds pieces that are colourful, intricate and breath-taking in detail. The first gallery has an early piece, Glass Forest, with vertical blown glass lit by neon. Just beyond features a room with an American Indian feel, of large glass bowls/ baskets and a tapestry made from blankets.

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Then it’s the sealife room with a huge tower of blue seaweed and golden sea creatures hidden in the swirling mass.

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The Persian Ceiling gallery had flowers in all colours suspended from the ceiling. Lighting effect brings the colour to the walls and floor of the room. This was the first room where I felt a big wow.

The next gallery was even more wow-worthy. Called Mille Fiori, Italian for a thousand flowers, it was like a big garden where everywhere you looked there was something new, something to study and discover. Many different shapes including spheres and stalks and leaves. There was just enough messiness for it to feel like it was based on a real garden.

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Talking about spheres the next gallery was all about them. The Ikebana and float boat had perfectly formed glass spheres apparently inspired by blowing glass into a river in Finland. After the large hectic garden, this felt more peaceful as if the rowing boats were really floating on a river.

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The small room next had chandeliers, and it brought us to the Macchia Forest. The pieces shaped like bowls were actually very technical in terms of colour. Instead of simple solid colours or patterns, there were unexpected specks scattered in the glass made by rolling the molten glass in other pieces of coloured shards before blowing. Truly great.

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The second part of the museum was the outside garden. The Glasshouse, the centrepiece of the museum, dominated the garden. A 40-foot tall conservatory with a 100-foot long piece in autumn colours. Seen from the right, the Space Needle loomed over it through the glass panels of the glasshouse.

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And then we reached the garden, with a mixture of real plants and glass plants. A new vista at every angle and every perspective. Many of the spheres reflected the Space Needle in the background, giving a different backdrop.

A great find, a great museum, so happy we visited.

cruise alaska day 02: seattle

Breakfast at the hotel, ham steak, scrambled eggs, waffle made from machine. They also have english breakfast tea so I could save my pg stash. By the time we were ready to had out it was already 10am. Sigh.

It was raining a little. Short walk to Seattle Center to take the monorail downtown. $2.25 for me and $1 for mum, the trip was around 1 mile, there were only 2 stops and took all of 2 minutes. Kinda fun, especially when the driver took one curve at a fast speed.

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First stop after we got off the monorail? Gap, Old Navy, A&F so mum could look for…I don’t know what she was looking for. It was boring. We finally made it out of the shops and walked towards the seafront. Found a nice shop that sold chocolate and wine, they had a wine and truffle tasting for $20, with great-looking local wines, but it was too early in the day. I wanted to go back later, but never got the chance.

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We spent a long time at Pike Place Market, for good reason. Great place, with stalls for fresh seafood, fruit & veg, flowers, snacks, nuts, souvenirs and trinkets. Bought apple chips and mum bought nuts. Opposite the market itself were specialist food stores including salmon, oil & vinegar, desserts plus the original Starbucks with a long, long queue. Apparently they still make coffee the original way, whatever that means. We obviously didn’t join the queue, but we did join the queue for piroshky piroshky bakery, a Russian bakery selling sweet and savoury pastries made onsite. We bought a salmon pât&233; pastry and a cardamom apple cinnamon roll.

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We went back into the market to buy 2 portions of ready-to-eat alaskan king crab legs and apple cider. The area just behind the market at the sort of park/promenade was an uneasy mix of tourists and homeless; we found a table, ignored the people around us and enjoyed our lunch.

Underneath the market in post alley was the gum wall where people stuck pieces of chewing gum on the wall. Pretty disgusting. We left the market and walked up Pike. No hard rock shirt, it was a repeat. We found a Target and mum went to town buying vitamins and stuff. I bought a shower curtain liner. We carried our loot quite a few blocks uptown to the cheesecake factory. Shared our favourite red velvet cheesecake and I got a glass of an oregon pinot noir at $4 happy hour price. Happy.

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Took the monorail back to our hotel to drop our shopping. I went to the lobby to print a combo ticket for space needle and chihuly garden to take advantage of the online discount. It was great to have our hotel so close to Seattle Center. By then the day had turned into a glorious blue sky evening. Even though our Space Needle slot was 6pm, it was still very much light outside and we took our time going around the observation deck. Great views.

We saw that part of the park had a bunch of stalls in what looked like a pop-up market so when we came back to ground level we walked over to explore the folklife festival. We heard music and saw a bunch of people dancing on stage to what turned out to be the anzanga marimba ensemble. Nice. There were stalls selling folksy clothing; the food stalls in contrast were all about deep fried food, hahaha.

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The visit to Chihuly garden and glass was higher on my to-do list (if the weather wasn’t nice, we wouldn’t have even bothered with space needle). The entire museum was a showcase for the studio art work of Dale Chihuly. There were separate galleries for different projects and works of art. So skilful, so intricate, every piece was interesting and fascinating.

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Great timing as we came to the outdoor garden part of the museum it was almost sunset. The highlight of the museum was the glasshouse with an intricate piece from the ceiling that allowed the space needle to act as background. Outside were many other pieces that reflected the space needle, very clever. We sat for a bit, visited the gift shop and wandered out.

By the time we left it was around 9pm, still a little light. Didn’t feel like eating but we went to walgreens again to get coke and I bought a beer from Pike Brewing company from the gas station around the corner. Interesting label, a tripel ale.

flickr set: seattle 251 photos, 6 videos