The Chihuly Boathouse

Opened Its Doors to the Seattle Glass Community for a Heart-touching Fundraiser

The Boathouse is where all those marvelous Chihuly pieces are created.  The building, located at the north end of Lake Union in Seattle, once was a place were racing skulls were fabricated.  It is now a “multiuse” facility – to say the least.  There is a hot shop, compact and efficient, and much smaller than I expected given the prodigious (impressive, exceptional, vast) Chihuly production.

Bordering it are walls of jarred frit, glass rods and Chihuly work “samples” in color palette arrangements.  A plethora  of Dale’s swirls and shapes are encased in hallway ceilings, one leading to a meeting/dining room overlooking the lake.  There sits a  table King Arthur would covet crowned with six or seven Chihuly chandeliers.

The Boathouse also contains some of Dale’s eclectic collections — a conference room shelved with incomparable Native American baskets and trade blankets, plus a wall of  photographs by Edward S. Curtis; collection of kids books; an aquarium with fish lazily making their way among priceless Chihuly glass creations; the pool room, as in swimming pool, with a glass bottom covering more Chihuly works and, down the hall, “changing room” pegs festooned with old fashioned bathing suits.  And, finally, there is a small private residence.

This breathtaking, pleasurable, museum-yet-highly-functioning facility defies  description, but I tried.  Dale Chihuly doesn’t do anything halfway.  Everything he does has his mark of grandeur and elegance.

The occasion of Gaye’s and my being there was a heart touching fundraiser for the four-year-old son of a cherished Seattle glass artist.  Probably 250 members of the Seattle glass community – artists, production teams, collectors and gallery owners – turned out to provide financial support to this lovely family.  There was a grand silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and wine.  But the soulful essence of the evening was palpable outpouring of love and moral support from an obviously tight knit, caring group.


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