Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


Garden and Glass, two…


As you leave the dark gallery area of the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle you step into areas where the glass objects interact with natural light. The glass glows in both environments. Talk about blowing your mind on color. In the transition area is a wall filled with blown-up images of old postcards depicting a collection of landmark glasshouses in gardens around the world. Right before walking into Chihuly’s glasshouse you get a sense of this unique type of architecture. I was reminded of walking into the Sainte-Chapelle Chapel in Paris. Maybe I was experiencing “art as a protective covering”. Chihuly’s glasshouse is asymmetrical and contains a 100 foot suspended sculpture.

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Exiting the glasshouse you enter the gardens where the glass interacts with nature.

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I loved the way plants were used as a backdrop for the glass. In an area confined to black and white coloring, covering the ground was black mondo grass. (It is not often you can find a plant that can give you such a background color and texture. Works wonderfully here. I mentioned this plant before and how I combined it with chartreuse plants, although, in our garden I can only use it in containers since it is not a California Native. TM sets the rules on that!)


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Black mondo grass covering a hill, this time…

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It was time for lunch before going up in the Space Needle, so we went back inside to the cafe connected to the garden. It seems Chihuly is also an inveterate collector (the cafe is called Collections and his personal collections are everywhere.)


The ceiling contains his collection of accordions…


Walls have a collection of his paintings and figurines…


and the tables to eat at were the coolest…a box covered with glass was in the center of each table and inside was one of his collections.

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The food was good, too…later, coming down from the Space Needle I got this bird’s-eye view of the layout of the garden…


There are some nice videos on Chihuly’s website. Worth the time to watch…

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Garden and Glass, part one…

After walking past the wonderful Gehry building in Seattle, we came to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit.


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Walking in, you enter into a series of galleries that contain Chihuly’s early work.


His series that referenced Native American baskets…

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All together there are eight galleries and two drawing walls that give a comprehensive collection of his work.

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Textures made when the glass was expanded creating fissures in the gold leaf on its surface…and the drawings he makes before starting a piece…


Some works are monumental…

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and some are on the ceiling like a skylight…


throwing their reflections against the wall…


The galleries are totally black with the glass work sitting on black pedestals. The colors glow from small spotlights. The only processing I did of my pictures was to retouch the tiny white rows of lights. The color is all Chihuly. If I lived in Seattle and was prone to depression because of lack of light, I would make my way here as often as possible to give my mental health a boost. I muttered reverentially the word “color’ as I walked through these rooms and have thought about the vibrancy of the experience continually since I have been home.

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The shiny pedestals also make for interesting reflections…

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The first picture wall with the works in Golden acrylic paint and lots of iridescent powders…(love that squirt bottle he uses)…

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The chandeliers he made for over Venice canals…

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The last of the galleries had his       series…I will let him speak for himself…


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Oh, yum…part two will be the garden and glasshouse…

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Variations on a shingle…

Last month we spent a weekend in Seattle to celebrate many family occasions that happen in the month of August. (Two birthdays and three anniversaries all on Terry’s side of the family.) While we were there we had a lovely day seeing the Space Needle (Terry had never been up in it, although I had been there in 1962 during the World’s Fair.) An added bonus is that right next to the needle Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass museum is located. (There is a great senior citizen discount if you buy a combo ticket for both!) As we were walking to buy our tickets we also passed another amazing building and when I got home I found it was a Frank Gehry building housing the EMP Museum. ( Think: the Guggenheim in Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. Same architect.) EMP stands for Experience Music Project. The old monorail built for the World’s Fair goes right through the center. We did not have time to see inside, but I did enjoy the surface outside. What a feast for the eyes!

From their website:

“EMP is a leading-edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, EMP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors. At EMP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation, and scholarship to the popular culture of our time.

 EMP’s futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus.

A classical music fan, Gehry wanted to understand rock ‘n’ roll, so he traded in his Bach for Hendrix and took a trip to the neighborhood guitar store. He bought several electric guitars, took them back to his office, and cut them into pieces. The guitar pieces were the building blocks for an early model design. Influenced by the colors in the early model, Gehry’s final design brightly displays the red and blue hues of electric guitars.”
I did love looking at this building…
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Once we were up in the Space Needle we could see down on the roof of the building.
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Next time, I would definitely include time to look inside Frank Gehry’s museum…

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iPhone Photo Friday…

The iPhone went to the sculpture garden. These photos were taken with the native camera on an iPhone4 and then processed on an iPad after we got home. The apps used were Iris Photo Suite, Dynamic Light and Snapseed on the image of the sign for a little grunge.

This is my all time favorite because I got so excited when I realized that Calder lined up with the space needle. Five thousand people a day probably take the same picture, but still I was thrilled!

You can read about the garden here. It is important to understand the setting which is on a hill, overlooking the water. The weather has an impact on your experience of looking. Scale plays an important part.


Sometimes the backdrop is the city skyline.

Sometimes, the sky and water form the backdrop.

Sometimes, small natural looking plantings forming groves embrace the art.





Who forgot their cardboard box?

Psych, it is painted steel. The sculptor wanted to contrast the material with the concrete bench.

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I am pausing in the travels briefly. After the first few days it became obvious that the blog was not going to be in real time but some type of virtual experience of the trip. We arrived home but the blog has not gotten out of Seattle yet. Now, here I pause for a diversion, oh, maybe in the virtual we will never get home. I think that may be a great way to take a real trip.
I have always had a fondness for the Seattle Space Needle because when I was in the seventh or eighth grade my family went to the Seattle World’s Fair and I have an iconic picture floating around here somewhere of me on the observation deck of the needle.
Can’t find it at the moment, but it was a great diversion on the trip to try to get a picture of the Space Needle. I never quite knew when it was going to emerge, but I ended up with many opportunities for shots, from the car and not. Here the shots are all grouped in one post.
This shot was on the way up to Canada when we were just driving through Seattle. The top of the Space Needle is just barely peaking out between two buildings that dwarf it.

When we arrived back in the area and made our way to the Seattle Art Museum from Port Townsend there was more opportunity.

Those are both from the freeway, but then we were on city streets the next day with Pat and I got some interesting angles.




From the sculpture garden




One last one from the freeway as we left the area the next day.

The iPhone continues to amaze me in the way it can capture shots from a moving car. One last one, that isn’t a space needle but is a brewery-what more can you ask for…

Square photos are using the Hipstamatic app with these combos of lens and film: John S lens and Kodot XGrizzled film; John S lens and Big Up film; Watts lens and Big Up film.
Photos in rectangular shape are taken with the native camera if the iPhone and cropped with Iris Photo Suite if needed.
The Space Needle is special…

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No rest for the weary in Seattle…

Bright and early (well not so bright, afterall it was Seattle) Terry’s brother, Pat, picked us up for our day of sightseeing in Seattle.

A swing through the University of Washington and then down to the Olympic Sculpture Park.

I will only give you a teaser here and dedicate an entire post later to the sculptures. This is Eagle by Alexander Calder. A perfect setting for this soaring piece.

Pat and Terry waited for me to take pictures most of the day They were very patient!

Our next stop was the Pioneer Square section of Seattle where we walked around the historic buildings and found the tasting room for Dry Soda. This is my favorite new drink, but I haven’t found it in California yet. It has flavors like lemongrass, rhubarb, blood orange, cucumber and vanilla bean. Less sweet soda and delicious. They have a tasting room in Seattle, just like in a winery.

At street level is the original second floor of the building because Seattle was rebuilt at a higher level after a fire in 1889 destroyed blocks of the city. Wooden buildings were rebuilt in brick. This created an “underground” portion to the buildings.

Some of the trees and light posts in Pioneer Park had knitted coverings. It made me giggle and think of my “knitting friends” back home.

Really? Still?

And over to:

Pike’s Place Market! The pictures say it all…

This was a very crowded place and I thought if I stopped for pictures of the flowers I would get trampled, so I waited until lunch at Campagne Cafe where it was a little quieter.

Then off to the Washington Park Arboretum (while driving there Pat pointed out this building which is the new library in Seattle.) The building is made of glass and steel and when I make it back to Seattle I will be sure that I see what it is like to look from the inside out instead of only from the backseat of a car through the lens of my iPhone. The iPhone proved again how quickly it can respond to important sights.

The garden has this type of planter (iron with terra cotta). Great design, wish I had some, although the design is a tad formal and massive for my garden. But, a great design idea. Around now we were beginning to realize that for everything we did that day we could have used an entire day’s worth of time to explore. We walked through only a portion of the garden and left wanting more. The plants weren’t labeled so some of the identifications are guesses.

This golden maple was magnificent:

and a honeysuckle

and another lovely flower with freckles and back-light.

Tree trunks in amazing shapes

Then a rollicking evening with Lisa, Pat, Ben, and Jeff at the Italian restaurant Il Terrazzo Carmine. Fantastico!

We will be back! Thanks for the memories! (and pictures)