Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dale Chihuly Visits Cedar Creek

In early November, Dale Chihuly came to visit Cedar Creek and check out our glass blowing studios. A friend of his called ahead to let us know they were coming, but I didn't really believe it was true until they called to say they were leaving Durham in fifteen minutes. Somehow I thought it might be somebody playing a good prank.

I was blowing a bowl when they arrived. Chihuly and his friend Bob came in, said hello and found comfortable seats from which to watch. I kept on working, hoping all hopes that this piece wasn't the one to fall on the floor. The punty held well (a little too well actually) and the piece was successful. Chihuly actually clapped and said "Bravo!" when I was done. We had a chance to talk for a while. Then they visited the Four Winds Glass Studio and looked around the gallery.

Amazingly I wasn't too nervous about working in front of perhaps the most famous glass blower in the world. I was proud to have him visit my studio. I am the lucky person who had a moment of his time to tell him how his path in glass has inspired me and made my journey in glass easier. Without Dale Chihuly much of what is being done in American studio glass would not be happening. He has simply inspired the world. I can't count the times that people have asked me if I knew his work, perhaps they had seen a video or book about him or one of his numerous installations. There is always a sparkle in their eye when they talk about his work. And then they have a new appreciation for glass as a medium and they look harder to see and appreciate what is around them. Last Tuesday Dale Chihuly had a sparkle in his eye as he watched the glass. After all these years and access to the best studios and most talented artists, it seems the glass itself is his real passion. Rock on Dale!

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