September 21, 2008

In Which I See Spots Before My Eyes

Now that the Sunday games have begun, it's time to resume the tour of the Chihuly exhibition. Again, many thanks to all of you who have been coming by to view it and the encouraging comments -- it means a lot to me.

When I left off, I was through the Tabac Baskets exhibit and the battery in my big camera had died. Once I averted a panic attack by fishing out my little camera, it was on to a series that is among Chihuly's most recognized and is a favorite of mine.

Macchia Forest

means "spotted" in Italian -- in case you haven't noticed, a huge part of his work is influenced by Italian glass mastery, and he gives a big nod to that tradition in many of his series -- and this close-up shows why it earned that moniker.

"Macchias represent Chihuly’s boldest combinations of color. He chooses one intense solid color for the interior and another for the exterior. The lip of the Macchia is a contrasting color. In between the layers of color, a layer of white glass forms “clouds.” This layer of white glass keeps the interior and exterior colors separated. While it is still hot, the Macchia is rolled in bits of colored glass called frits or jimmies. These tiny pieces melt into the outer layers of glass and form bright speckles or spots. Chihuly has more than 300 colors in his hot shop. Macchias provide a way to use them all in infinite variations."1

I vividly remember watching a TV show featuring Chihuly and his team studio approach to glassmaking, and they were making Macchia pieces. The way they swung the rod back and forth with enormous globs of glass on them, to get the wavy-edged effect, had me spellbound and I was hooked.

I wish I'd had a wide-angle lens (oh, and, you know, a "live" big camera) to get this kind of picture of the room, because it's the only way you get the forest sense of it. I was forced to focus mainly on individual pieces, except for this one.

1 In looking up information to be sure that I'm not talking out of my ass in these posts (the devil is in the details, folks), I found a great resource from The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, where they have Fireworks of Glass, the largest permanent Chihuly sculpture of blown glass. I see a trip to Indy in my future.

Next up: Reeds.