Dale Chihuly’s unique sculptures and installations have changed how people think about the medium of glass and he has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. After graduating in interior design in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design where he taught for more than a decade. Later he co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. In 1968, during a fellowship in Venice, he was introduced to the team approach to glass blowing, which he adopted in his studio. Car and sports accidents in the late 1970s left him with a blind eye and an injured shoulder. No longer able to blow glass himself, he has directed his gaffers and glass blowers, more like a choreographer than a dancer, more a director than an actor.
“The technology really hasn’t changed. We use the same tools today they used 2,000 years ago. The difference is that when I started, everyone wanted to control the blowing process. I just went with it.”
“My work to this day revolves around a simple set of circumstances: fire, molten glass, human breath, spontaneity, centrifugal force, gravity.”