| Dale Chihuly: Godfather of Glass
by Tracy Zollinger Turner
A version of this story originally appeared in Dialogue Magazine, 1998
Dozens of deep blue and clear stems of crystal lay spread across a padded blanket on the floor of a gallery in the Columbus Museum of Art. Each of the elongated pieces ends in what looks like the fingers of cresting waves frozen and captured split seconds before crashing, or, as their creators see them, frog feet.
These raw elements, wired together into suspended clusters, become Dale Chihuly's chandeliers, originally created for his citywide installation "Chihuly Over Venice." Hardly comparable to the light fixtures that hang in traditional ballrooms, Chihuly's designs are more like wild, oversized sea anemones or patches of coral reefs that might exist in some marine version of Alice's Wonderland.
Vibrant, abstract forms in blown glass have become Chihuly's trademark, and his personality parallels his work in its esoteric flamboyance. Credited with escalating the medium of glass from the realm of craft shows to fine art museums, his name has become a veritable institution.