Saturday, August 3, 2013

Road Trip, Part 6: Tacoma and its Glass

Something big has happened to Tacoma since we left in the mid-1980s: Glass as art, and especially the glass works of Dale Chihuly. A native son of Tacoma, Chihuly's influence is seen everywhere in the downtown area. 

A dilapidated train station when we last saw it, the refurbished Union Station is now leased by the Federal Government and houses federal courts, is also used as a wedding and party venue, and has an amazing display of Chihuly glass pieces in the rotunda. 

Because of security concerns surrounding federal court business, we were asked to take our photos of the higher parts of the dramatic rotunda only, so all my photos are angled upward. 

This hanging piece was immense! 

Just past Union Station, we strolled on to the famous Bridge of Glass, which is a 500-foot long pedestrian overpass that takes you to the Museum of Glass. My pictures do absolutely nothing to give you an idea of the scale of the glass pieces on the bridge, above: Each one was at least two to three feet high, and this is just a tiny section of the side of the bridge. Go to the Bridge of Glass website for some lovely photos. 

This is a small part of the ceiling of the Bridge--all Chihuly glass pieces--and it illustrates the thought that kept occurring to me: Tacoma's skies can often be gray and overcast, so the introduction of colorful glass that captures and changes the available light is the perfect pairing with the city's climate. 

The next two photos will illustrate my point--check out the gray clouds, then imagine all this glass lit up at night. 

Once we were inside the Museum itself, we spent some time admiring the creativity happening in the Hot Shop, where art is made from molten glass. 


Here is the interior of the Hot Shop's chimney, a 90-foot tall stainless steel cone that we could see from our room at the Hotel Murano.  As I may have mentioned before, the hotel itself was filled with glass pieces like the suspended glass canoe, below.


Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Unbelievable. Glass is so magical. Your photos are great. Glass is notoriously hard to photograph and you really did it justice. Thank you for this!

Sylvia K said...

I went to the exhibition at the museum in Seattle and it was AWESOME!! I did get some great shots, too! Hope your weekend is going well, Clair!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Magic it really is! And your photos are really good. We went to the Museum once, when our Tacoma grandson was smaller and more a pre-teen and teenager it isn't his cup of tea...we just need to go back on our own sometime while he's in school or something.

Joyful said...

Beautiful glass. What a feast for the eyes.

Kate said...

Chihuly's work is immediately recognizable. A million other glass lovers and I are awed by his work. At a exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, at least 10-15 years ago, I actually laid on the floor to stare up at the ceiling. Within minutes everyone in the gallery, did the same thing! What an experience you must have had seeing this exhibit!

JC said...

The hotel is newer. Wasn't in town when I was going up, that's for sure. The glass blowing is cool isn't it.

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