Sunday, September 28, 2014


 My first exposure to Dale Chihuly's artwork was at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where his very large yellow chandelier hangs in the foyer.  Since then I have seen his pieces in museums and galleries around the world, including the large installation hanging from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  Called "Fiori di Como," the installation represents Chihuly's interpretation of Italian flowers in the Spring.   In planning our recent trip to Seattle, seeing the Chihuly garden was number one on my list of must-do activities.

Here is a little introduction to the artist.  Chihuly first began to work with glass in the 1960’s.  Inspired by what he saw in the natural environment, he focused on allowing molten glass to take on its own organic shape, much like plants do in nature.  Over time, he also became intrigued with glass houses and conservatories which were almost entirely constructed of hand-blown glass; and he began putting together installations in conservatories around the world.  His pieces grew in size and complexity, with some sculptures being comprised of up to one thousand pieces of blown glass.  He found that glass can be very strong and able to withstand harsh weather, and began installing pieces in gardens of all types.  All of this led to Chihuly creating his own glass conservatory and gardens, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit which opened in 2012, located in the Seattle Center, at the base of the Space Needle.  

These first two photos are of Chihuly's "Persian Ceiling."  A flat glass pane is piled with glass works and lit from above.  This is a large room and stunningly beautiful.

An automobile accident in England in 1976 left Chihuly without sight in his left eye.  In 1979 he turned over the gaffer position (master glassblower) to a team whom he directs.  Drawing is one of his means to communicate his artistic vision for the glass pieces.

This installation filled a large room in the museum.

 The following three photos show the 100' long sculpture suspended from the ceiling of Chihuly's Glass House.  In the second photo, the Seattle Space Needle is visible.

A view of the hanging installation from the garden.
The following photos were taken in the gardens surrounding the Glass House.  Notice how seamlessly the glass installations fit in and compliment the natural gardens.  

Friday, September 12, 2014


One of the wonderful things about travel is meeting new people.  Two years ago, on our trip to Germany, we met Debbie and John, who live outside of Seattle, and have a "cabin" on Lake Chelan, a beautiful lake in the Cascade Mountains about 3-1/2 hours drive east of Seattle.   We have kept in touch since then, and when they heard that we were thinking about visiting Portland, they invited us to visit them.  Initially, we all felt a bit of apprehensiveness since we were going to be together for a week.  Within minutes of getting together, however, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief... Everything was going to be fine.  Well, it was tremendous, actually!   Now we look forward to seeing them again, hopefully soon!    

This recipe comes from Debbie.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

*  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*  1 tablespoon olive oil
*  1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (plus more for garnish)
*  1/4 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
*  3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (or to taste)
*  1 large eggplant, trimmed, sliced into twelve 1/2 inch rounds
*  2 sprays cooking spray
*  1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
*  2 large fresh tomatoes, ends trimmed, cut into 6 slices each
*  3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
     Preheat grill to medium-high.  
     In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, oregano, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside for flavors to blend. 
     Coat both sides of eggplant with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Grill eggplant slices until lightly charred and tender, turning as needed, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Brush eggplant with lemon mixture; top each with 1 slice tomato and 1 tablespoon feta.  Cover grill and cook until tomato and feta soften slightly, about 1 minute.  
     Remove to a serving platter and garnish with additional oregano leaves.