Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Genius of Chihuly

Or, how I spent my summer vacation.

This year instead of stalking Kaffe Fassett in Europe or learning how to dye textiles in India, I took the days off surrounding the Fourth of July and had some quality me time. This means that I switched all of the digital media off (well, all except the DVD player and my iPod) and dove right in to spinning on my new Ashford Joy, knitting on a wonderful double knit pattern from Son of Stitch N Bitch and donating clothes to Goodwill. As if that wasn't enough to keep me busy all the long weekend, I also went to the Dale Chihuly show at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco AND saw the reunited Yazoo at the Paramount Theatre.

This post will be about the Chihuly experience.

I've never actually been to a solo exhibition of DC's work. The DeYoung had a few lovely pieces in its permanent collection, but I've never been to the Bellagio or to any of his installations in Venice or Seattle. So, this show was overwhelming in the most delightful way.

Anthony and I trekked over to the city at what we thought was a good time, but once we arrived, we saw the crazy long line just to get tickets and I worried that going on a Sunday of a long weekend was not the best of ideas. Fortunately, the line went pretty quickly and the cashier gave Anthony the student discount because they didn't have a disabled one. Honestly, don't get me started on places that don't have discounts for folks in wheelchairs. But, I digress.

Since half of SF decided to go on the day we did, there were limits to the number of people allowed into the exhibit at the same time. We were told that we could enter at 3:30pm but once inside we could stay as long as we liked. This wasn't really a problem since there was a killer Turkish carpet/weaving exhibit I was interested in AND the rest of the museum to explore.

The Turkish exhibit was quite lovely. I don't really understand weaving, but I have a feeling that I would have no patience for it. It seems like a lot of trouble and a lot on investment in tools and materials. Hrrrm. Perhaps that isn't that big of a barrier for me, considering how far down the rabbit hole I've fallen with spinning, but I think a loom would be a huge obstacle to navigate around in our place. But, these pieces were magnificently constructed with beautiful colors and designs. My favorite pieces were the robes! The light was a bit low to preserve the integrity of the fabric and hues, but even under diminished light, it was impressive.

We roamed around the African and Polynesian displays until I realized that I was a bit peckish and needed at least a coffee and cookie from the museum cafe. Yes, the line was from hell, but I made Anthony go ahead and grab a clean table, while I queued up and made my choices. I got a super yummy turkey and poblano spread sandwich (with Peet's coffee!) and I got Anthony an assortment of organic local cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing (with Peet's Coffee). While we were eating our snacks, this scary seagull swooped in (barely missing my head) but then proceeded to peck away at the glass windows/walls of the cafe, because he/she was annoyed with the "other" gull that was mirroring every step s/he made. I captured a quick bit on my camera's movie setting.

Fully sated, we made our way to the Chihuly show.... and I. Was. Blown. Away. Dale Chihuly is such a master of his craft. It was that good. There were crazy Ikebana sculptures, fabulous southwestern motif vessels, glorious organic bowls with glowing edges, a room with a clear ceiling and light shining through hundreds of small glass objects (c.f. the picture with this post), a wall of jellyfish/anemones, boats on black mirrored rivers filled with balls, hanging/writhing pieces that looked like Superman's Secret Lair, and finally a garden of the most unbelievable flora I have ever seen.

We were allowed to take photographs as long as there was no flash, and I took over 200. I was able to edit out the blurry or poorly composed ones, making the final count about 150 but I can imagine taking loads more with a better camera. I only have a Canon Powershot A620 but I dream of a digital SLR in the future.

Anthony and I didn't really fancy coming home just yet, so we went backwards through the exhibit to revisit our favorite pieces. We were finally kicked out at 5:30pm and headed back to the Beast (East Bay is pig latin for Beast). Practically a perfect day with a nice creative shot in the arm.

What have you seen this summer that has filled you with the desire to make art?


  1. That sounds amazing.

    And... you have a wheel now?? How's it going? Do you love it? The Joy looks like a great wheel. (And I love your double-knitted scarf - almost makes me want to buy the book just for that scarf pattern. :) )

  2. Yep, I'm loving it!!!

    If you'd like to check out the pattern, I'll show it to you. Are you taking the wheel class with Brooke?

  3. A friend of mine went that weekend and said the exact same thing - half of San Francisco and loved the Turkish weaving exhibit. Must get over there. And down to San Jose.

  4. The installation at the Bellagio is nothing short of spectacular.

    Putting it up on the ceiling is a wise choice- there's so much texture and color that it's very tempting to touch.

  5. My 10 year old went to the Monterey Aquarium with camp and they had some of his work there supposedly.

    He was all fired up about it so I think we'll have to make the trek soon and go see it.

  6. OMG, I am sooo jealous that you got to see Yaz! By the time I learned they were here, the show was sold out! I think Alison Moyet owes me and Jane a makeup show for one that she missed several years ago...

  7. Wonderful meeting you (with berkeleybecca) at Lambtown and happy that I was the one to get the last business card to picture your braces. Also very impressed with the natty sun hat and Fibertarian bag. You know how to dress for the fair!

  8. It was a truly wonderful day. And the exhibit was glorious. It was difficult to distinguish it from dreaming. An honour to be there in amidst these fanciful objects in fantastical colours in the gracious presence of wondermike. (my MOOP!)