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Chihuly Editions: Q&A with the artists

SeaformsBook_IMG0045

Glass artist Dale Chihuly is known around the world for the colorful and graceful organic forms of his blown-glass sculptures and installations.  What you may not know, however, is that Chihuly also collaborates with Chihuly Workshop creating Studio Editions that are inspired by the artist’s original works. Four Studio Editions are created and offered each year. Crystal Bridges’ Museum Store is one of the places you can find these breathtaking works available to purchase and call your own.

Current Studio Editions by Dale Chihuly include:

AmberPlumSeaformPair

Amber Plum Seaform © 2015 Chihuly Studio

NightfallMacchia

Nightfall Macchia © 2015 Chihuly Studio

Pomegranate Persian

Pomegranate Persian © 2015 Chihuly Studio

RavenBlackBaskets

Raven Black Baskets © 2015 Chihuly Studio

Curious as to how these Studio Editions are produced, I contacted the Chihuly Studio and asked a few questions.  Here’s what the Studio had to say:

How does a glassblower get to work at Chihuly Studio?The glassblowing community is very tight-knit.  Glassblowers who exhibit exceptional talent are brought into the Studio by being in the right place at the right time.  Word of mouth from the team also comes into play.

How many artisans are at work in the editions studio altogether? The Studio Edition team consists of usually six to seven glassblowers.  They are the same glassblowers that create Chihuly’s larger, unique glass artworks.

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Seaform in process, the Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 1995 © 2015 Chihuly Studio

Bellagio_09111_p14b

Persian in process, the Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 2006 © 2015 Chihuly Studio

Dale Chihuly (right) directs studio artists in the creation of one of his distinctive glass sculptures.

From L: Richard Royal, Charles Parriott, David Levy, Chihuly, and Brian Brenno, the Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 1993 © 2015 Chihuly Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

How long does it take to create an individual piece of Chihuly Studio glass? Studio Editions take approximately thirty minutes, maybe more depending on how many layers of color are used for the piece.

Can you explain the process from the inspiration to the creation of the Studio Editions? Yes, the Studio Editions are inspired by Chihuly’s unique work that is in current inventory or his archives.  Sometimes the exact color is no longer available, so another one is substituted and/or sometimes a change is simply suggested.

From the point of view of a glass artisan, what makes Chihuly glassworks distinctive?  What makes Chihuly distinctive is his use of color, his variety of shapes, and most importantly, he works off-center, meaning his glass leans to one side or the other or is asymmetrical.

I’m sure there is a strict inspection process for approval of editions that will go out under the Chihuly name. Does Dale Chihuly inspect each work himself?  What happens to objects that don’t make the cut? The Studio Editions go through a quality-control process and are inspected by both the glassblowers before they leave the Studio and by Chihuly Workshop before they are packed and shipped.  Glass that does not make the cut is destroyed.

As heartbreaking as it is to imagine even an imperfect Studio Edition being smashed to pieces, you can see for yourself how exacting the Studio’s standards for excellence are when you view these works in person.  Each Studio Edition is signed by Chihuly and accompanied by a Plexiglas vitrine for display, plus a full-color companion book. Come visit Crystal Bridges’ Museum Store soon to view these remarkable works of art, and maybe even add one to your personal art collection!

 

Linda DeBerry
Senior Copy Editor / Publications Manager

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