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 “multi-use” 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.