Dale Chihuly recounts how he discovered/developed his first breakthrough series, the Baskets. Inspired by Native American woven baskets, Dale set out to create the same feeling of organic movement—of weight, of gravity—in glass. His first really strong idea was to let the fire of the furnace deform the glass, but for this to work the material had to be pushed to the edge of thinness, to be right on the verge of collapsing under it’s own weight. He would then freeze that moment.
Much has been written, both negative and positive, about Chihuly’s work over the years. Young glassblowers in particular seem to have a disdain for his work, dismissing it because “he didn’t make it” or “it’s too decorative”. Ok, well, I issue a challenge to all you glassblowers out there: if you think Chihuly’s work is so easy, recreate his first series. It’s not as easy as it looks.