Monday, November 9, 2015

48. Museum of Glass: Bird Lovers Weekend

Forty eight down. Seven to go.

My wife Chris has always loved birds, so the Bird Lovers Weekend was the perfect time for our visit to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. One seldom has the opportunity to observe world famous sculptors at work. The Museum of Glass, however, provides that chance: it has a working hot shop where you can watch premier artists create fabulous glass art. It is exciting to watch and there is always some suspense. What will the final creation look like? Will it survive the creative process without shattering?

We spent close to an hour in the hot shop on a recent Sunday afternoon observing Finnish master glassblowers Arto Lahtinen and Helena Welling create beautiful glass birds. This is the twelfth year they have spent time in the hot shop creating works designed by Professor Oiva Toikka from Finland's famous Iittala glass company. The museum's hot shop is within a 90 foot tall cone-shaped amphitheater where visitors are very close to the action. You can also watch the work in progress on a large live screen, with commentary provided by Museum staff.

In the hotshop you can watch
the artists at work and follow
the action on a live screen.
The Museum of Glass and the adjoining Chihuly Bridge of Glass opened in July of 2002. The opening was the result of a 20 year incubation and development process involving artists and civic leaders who believed a world-class museum celebrating the Studio Glass movement would help anchor Tacoma's redevelopment. In addition to the hotshop, the museum features galleries that host many exhibitions throughout the year as well as the museum's permanent collection. The museum also has a number of School Programs and, of course, the opportunity to purchase beautiful glass art in its gift shop.

It is exciting and suspenseful to watch
 the glass artists in action.

The museum galleries feature many
exhibitions and a permanent collection.

Bird Lover's Weekend featured an appearanceby the Seattle Seahawks' live mascot Taima, an Augur Hawk.

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