Dale Chihuly is a visionary who has mastered the manipulation of glass to create art. His life and work are captured in World of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly by the award-winning team of iNK author Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. In this biography, a first for young people, Chihuly comes alive as an extraordinarily bold person who was hooked on glass the first time he blew a bubble in a glob of molten glass at the end of a steel pipe. If he twirled the molten bubble of glass it widened into a disk. And he could add color to the molten glass by rolling it in shattered glass color sticks. Chihuly has created distinctive glass sculptures that are sometimes massive, brilliantly colored and as eye-catching as they are light catching.
His works begin with an imaginative sketch on paper. He has a team of artisans to help him create his vision, which took a hit when he lost one eye by going through a windshield in an automobile accident:
" 'There was no despair because I just felt so lucky that I didn't lose both my eyes.' Instead of an artificial eye, he put on a swashbuckling black eye patch. It became one of his trademarks."
The authors describe how this loss, which cost him depth perception, and the physicality of working quickly to shape molten glass led him to forming a team of glassblowers who could create his vision:
"After dislocating his shoulder in an accident while body surfing, Dale finally gave up blowing glass. He assumed the role of director making drawings in the hotshop to pass along ideas to his team. His ability to lead as well as to spot talent revitalized him."
World of Glass is a beautifully produced book, lavishly illustrated with full colored photographs and including a double-wide page to be unfolded, emphasizing the scope and power of Chihuly's work. Greenberg and Jordan had personal access to the Maestro himself, as well as his team. The back matter includes a list of places where you can see Chihuly's masterpieces for yourself. Only then can you truly marvel at the scale of his work.
Publication date: May 12, 2020