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Dale Chihuly - Glass Blower

When you think of glass art, do little round crystal animals come to mind? Dale Chihuly is well above that - not that there's anything wrong with shiny knick-knacks. Dale transforms glass into everything from small bowls, creatures from the sea and Ikebana art, to colorful chandeliers almost 50 feet long.

Dale is so good at making art out of glass that's he's in high demand. His work is in over 190 museum collections across the world. Dale's closet must be full of suits from all the award winning ceremonies he has to go to. The guy has won too many awards to list. Some of them include Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, Honorary Doctorate, Distinguished Achievement Award, Outstanding Achievement in Glass and the Golden Plate Award.

What has Dale done to achieve all these awards? Talent, pure talent. Dale has created several well-known series of works including the Baskets, Persians and Seaforms. He's also put together a few astonishing presentations. One of them was the spectacular "Chihuly Over Venice." "I was thinking about hanging grand chandeliers over the canals of Venice (Italy)," said Dale. Which is what he did. He directed and oversaw the blowing of glass into chandeliers in factories in Finland, Ireland and Mexico, then hung them up in Italy. "In the end, the chandeliers, made from thousands of individual parts and representing the work of hundreds of glass blowers [was] sent to Venice, The Wizard of the Sea, the most mysterious and secretive city of all."

Another breathtaking work of art by Dale is his "Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000." He created and put up 17 impressive pieces of his work within the stone walls of an ancient military fortress called the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem. At the entrance hangs a breathtaking yellow chandelier but if you keep going, the 48 foot tall Blue Tower with 2000 glass arms will make your jaw drop. This exhibit in Israel attracted a record-breaking attendance of more than 1.2 million people in only 12 months.

Dale was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941. His father passed along Hungarian, Czech and Slavic blood and his mom passed on Norwegian and Swedish roots. After redesigning his mom's rec room, Dale went to university and studied interior design and architecture. He also learned how to melt glass. Dale began travelling (something he hasn't stopped doing yet) and became really interested in glass blowing. He received a B.A. in interior design, a master's degree in sculpture and another master's degree in ceramics.

Dale is currently working on a bridge made out of glass. He is making a pedestrian link from Washington's Pacific Avenue (downtown Tacoma) and the new Museum of Glass. The 500 foot long bridge will have a Seaform Pavilion, Venetian Wall and two Crystal Towers. "Chihuly Bridge of Glass" and the Museum of Glass are scheduled to open in July 2002.

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