Dale Chihuly played around with the art of silvering glass on and off for many years, but it was only recently that the internationally renowned glass artist developed a full-fledged silvering series.
His new book, “Chihuly Silvered” showcases the more than 100 pieces he’s created through the silvering process. Chihuly will sign his book and greet fans from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16 in the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Chihuly has a long relationship with the Bellagio hotel and Las Vegas. His well-know permanent installation, Fiori di Como, graces the ceiling in the hotel’s lobby. He also showcases pieces at a gallery in Bellagio and in his 4,350-square-foot gallery at CityCenter.
Chihuly’s works are on display in more than 200 museum collections across the world. His next ambitious installation, which he describes as “big landscapes of glass with lots of different colors,” will open in June at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.
VEGAS.com interviewed Chihuly about his book and his art in advance of his Saturday book signing.
What is silvered glass?
“Silvered refers to them being mirrored on the inside so it’s simply a coat. We use three different types of coats. We use a gold and a bronze and a silver to coat the interiors and, of course, it changes the piece dramatically when you do that. It’s just kind of magical.”
How did your relationship with Las Vegas first develop?
“I met Steve Wynn about 20 years ago. He got a hold of me and asked if I would consider doing the ceiling at the Bellagio and I told him I would think about it and try some experiments. He came up to Seattle and liked them, so we did it.”
Was your Bellagio ceiling inspired at all or influenced in any way by Las Vegas?
“No, except that it’s a little bit over the top.”
Would you ever consider doing another permanent installation in Vegas?
“If it was exciting enough I would … a project I could really get involved with, something that inspired me. Doing the ceiling at Bellagio inspired me … to work in that space, to put that amount of glass over the thousands of people everyday that go through there.”
Are any of your other pieces inspired by Las Vegas?
“Well I work with neon every now and that was probably inspired somewhat by Las Vegas.”
What is it about glass as a medium that attracted you?
“What attracted me to it, and probably a lot of other people, is that light goes through the glass. It’s transparent or translucent and there are very few materials in the world that light goes through. And because it goes through, there’s completely different vision you can get from it because you’re looking at light itself.”
Do you have a favorite piece?
“I did a project, Chihuly Over Venice, in 1996 and I hung chandeliers over the canals of Venice, Italy. That’s one of my favorite projects. I did another in 2000 called Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem. That was a big installation. It took us about a month to install it, and it took about 40 people.”
Sounds like we need a Chihuly Over the Las Vegas Strip.
“Now we’re talking!”
Copies of “Chihuly Silvered” and other Chihuly titles are available for purchase at the Chihuly Gallery located in Via Fiore at Bellagio.