Roughly speaking, millefiori is a technique in which different shapes are produced in glass. Often the shapes resemble flowers, or candy or candy flowers. As a child, I was insatiably curious about these millefiori paperweights and longed to get inside and be surrounded by these magical shapes and colors. Though many years have gone by, my wish came true when I visited the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this September. It turns out I am not alone in my fascination with millefiori or fantastic and beautiful shapes and sizes of blown glass. Adults and children from all over the planet are swept away as well. It is rare and truly magical when art can be so universally magnetic and pleasing to so many people. Yes it is fine art, and it is FUN!
Dale Chihuly’s love affair with glass began in the 1960’s when he was a student of design in Washington State. In 1965 Chihuly blew his first glass bubble, and he never looked back. In 1979 after a car accident which left him blind in one eye and a body surfing accident in which he suffered a dislocated shoulder, Chihuly gave up the physical role of glassblowing to solely direct the process. In fact, he has been called the Leonard Bernstein of glassblowing. Chihuly might even be called the Twyla Tharp of glassblowing as there is certainly choreography involved. ”I’m an artist, a designer, a craftsman, interior designer, half-architect. There’s no one name that fits me very well.”– Dale Chihuly
”I love to juxtapose the man-made and the natural to make people wonder and ask, “Are they man-made or did they come from nature?” That’s a very important part of my work.” – Dale Chihuly
“I never met a color I didn’t like.” – (Dale Chihuly)
“Glass is the most magical of all materials” – (Dale Chihuly)
Photos by Jonathan PalevskyChihuly, glass, millefiori, Montreal