Sunlight coming through the "glass ceiling" (full of glass sculpture) on the bridge.
While we were in Tacoma last week, we went to a museum called the Museum of Glass. I've long been interested in glass art (sculpture?), and Sam and I saw some Chihuly when we were in Arizona a few years ago---I loved it! Dale Chihuly lives in the Seattle area, I believe, and had something to do with the creation of this museum. Anyway, I wanted to go by there while we were in the vicinity, at least to see the outdoor sculptures and the glass bridge (pictured above and at bottom of post).
After some debate (everything is expensive, of course) we decided to go into the museum as well, and I was SO glad we did! It was spectacular. This glass volcano-like structure (above) . . .
housed the glass-blowing workshop where you could watch the artists at work. It was mesmerizing. We watched for two hours and Sebby still started to cry when we said we had to leave. The glass seems so foreign when it's molten---like a different substance altogether. Which it is, I suppose. The way the colors changed and deepened with the heat, and the fluidity of the forms as the artists blew or pulled with tongs or hammered at them, was so beautiful. It made me so want to try it myself! Maybe someday. Although it's probably Sam, not me, who would be good at it.
Just as amazing as the workshop was this exhibition, "Beauty Beyond Nature: the Glass Art of Paul Stankard."glass orbs or rectangles. Some are paperweights; others more free-form sculptures, but all are exquisite. I could have spent hours examining each piece: each tiny petal, each entwined root, each furred bumblebee; each impossibly delicate stem. We watched a film that showed some of his artistic process (though not enough--I wish there was a complete documentary), and it was fascinating. He quoted the Latin motto laborare est orare, "my work is my prayer," and talked about how his studies for art have informed his faith. He doesn't attempt total scientific accuracy in his renderings of flowers and plants, but rather tries to evoke feelings of awe and reverence for nature, and contemplation of natural themes of life and death, in his viewers.*
As I was looking for pictures that did justice to Stankard's work, I found this blog post that shows a few pictures of the process. You may find it interesting as well.
Image by Fernando Gaglianese, from this post
Lily of the valley. I would buy this one if I had $6000 or so lying around.
If I lived in Seattle, I'd go back to this Museum again and again. It was one of the best parts of our visit!
*It reminds me of a phrase I recently read that the composer Manuel de Falla used (admiringly) to describe Debussy's Spanish music: "truth without authenticity." This was Falla's goal as well---not to use actual Spanish folk music, but to elicit the feeling of a specific time and place, to create a "true" and familiar world for the listener, while using new and original music.