Chihuly Outdoor Exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens 2014

Blue and purple glass shapes from Chihuly outdoor exhibit 2014.

Patiently awaiting to see what Mother Nature may unveil with this season’s spring bloom cycle, the next few posts are a bit of a departure. Digging into my photo archives, there are several outdoor sculpture exhibits from years past. Merging nature and art together in beautiful outdoor settings, I believe they are post-worthy.

Since I’ve previously shared Origami in the Gardens, I believe these posts will be nice visual additions.

We shall begin this series with the Chihuly Outdoor Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens from 2014. Yes, it was a while back…

Note: The photos were taken with my old point and shoot digital camera. So not the greatest in terms of quality. But it’s about sharing the visual experiences as these events all took place at either the Denver Botanic Gardens or Santa Fe Botanical Gardens.

My LOVE of Glass Started at a Young Age

First a bit of my personal background on my love of glass. I like to believe this began at a very early age after being exposed to glass blowers in Venice.

About once a year we would head to Italy to visit with my mother’s side of the family. While many of them were in Rome, others were scattered around other northern parts. There were lots of train rides (also giving me a love of trains) that took us to different destinations to visit cousins, aunts and uncles. Very often there was a side trip to Venice which led to wandering around Piazza San Marco. Feeding of pigeons was a given. But there were also Venetian glass blowers and I was mesmerized at their effortless creations.

To this day I still have two beautiful hand blown little glass horses that are prized possessions. A little glass penguin is part of the collection as well. My parents shipped quite a few pieces of gorgeous glass back from Venice over the years too.

A Friend Who Was a Patron of the Arts

My introduction to Dale Chihuly came by way of a friend who was a patron of the arts. April 2005, for my birthday, and given my Italian background, she said she was taking me somewhere I would enjoy. I had NO idea where we were going other than heading down to Colorado Springs.

White oragnic shapes glass sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Organic shapes of a Chihuly glass sculpture.

Upon arrival we had a lovely champagne brunch.  Then to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for their latest exhibit.

This is the moment I came face to face with the world of Chihuly! The exhibit was primarily his Venetians glass collection. With my friend knowing my love of glass, walking around and taking in the internationally acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly, I was speechless!

From floor to ceiling in one room were these tall paper “sketches”. They literally looked like colorful paint squiggles on paper. What I recall is that these were how Chihuly came up with his ideas for sculptures. He’d lay down these sheets of paper and squirt colors from plastic bottles.

There was so much energy from all the colors, I literally sat down on the floor in the middle of the room in awe to take it all in. Out of concern, my friend came over and asked if I was ok? I said, Yes, I just needed a few minutes to observe. It was such a powerful experience for me personally.

Once you’ve seen these abstract “sketches”, it gives you an idea of how the creations come to life. It’s magical is all I can say and gives one a greater appreciation for an artist’s creative process!

I don’t have any photos of this exhibit, but it is forever imprinted in my mind. I was grateful beyond words. What an amazing birthday gift this experience was!

The Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Orange and red glass globes and squiggles by Chihuly.
Orange and red glass globes and squiggles.

Clearly my initial intro on Chihuly left its mark. So when I heard he was doing an outdoor exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens in 2014, I was all over it! Already a member of the gardens, I would make several visits to this summer exhibit. Given my love of the botanic gardens and glass, one viewing was not enough!

So the following photos (again not the greatest quality) are from that 2014 exhibit.

How they put this all together is mind-blowing. There are SO many intricate pieces of glass that unite to make these incredible creations come to life. It’s like a symphony with all the notes coming together – but rather than sound it’s a visual explosion of colors, textures and shapes.

It was like the squiggle sketches I had seen years ago had come to life among the beautiful backdrop of the botanic gardens. Without further adieu, enjoy my photo collection of the exhibit:

Various sizes glass globes - Chihuly outdoor exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens 2014
Colorful glass globes – notice the reflections in the pond water.
Purple rods and green organic glass shapes in pond.
The organic shapes of the green squiggles and the purple glass rods with lily pads.
Close up of glass globe from Chihuly outdoor exhibit at Denver Botanic Gardens 2014
Yellow globe above, tall pink and white squiggles sculpture to the right.
White and pink squiggles shapes glass sculpture.

If a Chihuly Exhibit Comes to Your City GO!

Alien looking and organic green glass shapes in pond.

Looking at these incredible sculptures, it’s hard to believe that glass is essentially sand which has been melted down and chemically transformed. 

If you are anything like me who loves both botanic gardens and Chihuly glass then if one of his exhibits comes to your city or local botanic gardens all I can say is GO! You won’t be disappointed. It’s an experience not to be missed.

If you appreciate nature and art merged together, then you may find yourself inspired to visit the exhibit more than once 🙂


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