The Community Library and Chihuly Studio Present: Dale Chihuly: Blanket Cylinders 1975-2016 now on View in the Library Foyer
The Foyer of Community Library In Ketchum is housing 21 exquisite art glass cylinders from renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. With this extraordinary body of work, Chihuly aims to convey his appreciation and respect for the histories, cultures, and arts of the Indigenous tribes of North America, and to recognize the influence of Native cultures on contemporary arts.
To develop his Blanket Cylinders, Chihuly researched blankets made by members of the Diné (Navajo) tribe after being exposed to rugs and blankets handloomed by Diné artists, which he saw while spending time in New Mexico in 1974. In this Cylinder series, Chihuly initially experimented with drawings on glass vessels, using what is known as a “pick-up” technique. Colorful glass threads were laid out in intricate designs inspired by the Navajo textiles, before being fused to the vessel in its molten state in a process informed by the artist’s background in weaving.
Glass and textiles have been intertwined for Chihuly since the beginning of his career. He was introduced to working with glass and natural fiber while studying interior design at the University of Washington, where are as a young artist, he literally wove the two mediums together in unexpected dialogue.
Chihuly’s experimentation with each during this time marks the beginning of his bold innovations in glassmaking:
My first serious use of glass was weaving small parts of it into tapestries. I did this quite seriously during my junior and senior years at the University of Washington in 1963-65. During this period, I studied all kinds of weaving and textiles and fell in love with Navajo blankets and Pendleton blankets. . .It was the beginning of my love of Native American design. ~Dale Chihuly
A decade later, Chihuly was drawn to Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, he helped build a glass hotshop for the Institute of American Indian Art, inaugurating the school’s glassmaking program. This proved to be a powerful synergy for the studio glass art movement, the contemporary Native art movement, and for Chihuly’s development as an artist.
Like so many artists, Dale Chihuly draws inspiration from the world around him. Chihuly was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington and has spent much of his life immersed in the cultures and natural environs of Washington State. He has been inspired by the waters of Puget Sound, his mother’s gardens in Tacoma, and the art of dozens of Indigenous tribes, particularly those who reside along the Pacific Northwest Coast and in the Southwestern US, where he has spent time.
The exhibit will be on display in the Library’s foyer through January 2023. Exhibition Sponsored by Michael and Alexis Rowell.