Dale Chihuly’s Career

Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma in 1941. He studied at the College of Puget Sound (now University of Puget Sound) then transferred to the University of Washington earning his bachelor of arts degree in interior design in 1965.

Chihuly began working with glass in 1963 when he wove glass into natural fiber tapestries. Two years later he blew his first bubble while experimenting with a small plate of heated glass and an ordinary metal pipe. In 1966 he pursued a master of science in
sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with pioneer glass artist, Harvey Littleton. Chihuly then went on to achieve a master of fine arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design where he later established the school’s renowned glass program. In 1968 through a Fulbright Fellowship he became the first American glassblower to work at the prestigious Venini Fabrica on the island of Murano in Italy.

In 1971 he co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington where he remained artistic director through the 1980s. In 1976 he was involved in an automobile accident in England that left him without sight in his left eye and ultimately forced him to shift his method of making art. During the same period the Metropolitan Museum of Art added one of his works to their collection, acknowledging his talent and growing influence.

Since 1967 Chihuly has exhibited in museums and gardens around the world and his work is included in the collections of more than 200 museums. He pushes the medium of glass to its limits taking sculpture off the pedestal and onto walls and ceilings, suspended from bridges, perched in natural outdoor settings and transformed into spectacular, large-scale installations. Two of his most iconic exhibitions were Chihuly over Venice (1995–1996) and Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000 (1999–2000). In 2012, his long-term exhibition, Chihuly Garden and Glass, opened at Seattle Center. He continues to innovate and explore new work at his Studio in Seattle.