Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tacoma's Glass Museum

Cross the Bridge of Glass and descend the Grand Staircase.  You will walk around the iconic stainless steel cone (pictured above) and enter a world of magic.  I was in a state of awe the minute I walked through the museum's doors.  If you only have the time to visit one museum in Tacoma, Washington, visit this one.
We began our tour inside the cone, which houses the Hot Shop.  Here you can view the glassblowers at work.  See them sculpt hot molten glass into delicate masterpieces.  They must work fast.  Deliberately.  The room is hot.  The liquid glass even hotter.  These men and women aren't only artists, they are chemists and physicists.  It is a mind blowing technique.
Dale Chihuly is Tacoma's most famous son.  His achievements have inspired glass artists from all over the world and many of them have made their way to this museum.  Chihuly made it clear he did not want the museum to be all about him, but rather a place to give glass artists an opportunity to experiment and explore their own creations.  Since its opening in 2002, more than 300 artists have been invited to produce and exhibit their works here.  For many of them, it has been a godsend because studios are prohibitively expensive.   And in return?  They must donate one piece to the museum's permanent collection.  Ingenious.

The two exhibits we had the privilege of seeing were the glass and steel sculptures of Albert Paley and the delicate creations of Michael E. Taylor.  My travel buddy and I were speechless.  Their work was staggeringly beautiful.

Another very fun exhibit were the designs of children made into sculptures by the Hot Shop artists.
We particularly fell in love with Ian Wick's Night of the Living Dead Pig, pictured below.  Ian is 9 years old.

In addition to the art exhibits, there is good cafe where we had lunch and then we wandered into the museum's store.  I had every intention of buying a piece of art to take home with me, but the prices were a bit too steep.  I am determined, however, to seek out emerging young artists and to add one of their glass sculptures to my growing art collection.  And this, I realize, is the purpose of the Tacoma Museum of Glass. To inspire and to educate.  To promote the work of  talented glassblowers and to encourage the public to support them. 

Mission accomplished.

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