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Chihuly Blanket Cylinders on Display at Community Library
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Tuesday, July 12, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Twenty-one exquisite art glass cylinders created by renown glass artist Dale Chihuly are now on exhibit in the foyer of Ketchum’s Community Library.

They will be exhibited through January 2023.

The colorful cylinders are Blanket Cylinders that Chihuly created between 1975 and 2016. To create them, Chihuly researched blankets made by members of the Dine (Navajo) tribe. He was inspired by the handloomed rugs and blankets he’d seen while spending time in New Mexico in 1974.

Chihuly initially experimented with drawings on glass vessels, using what is known as a pick-up technique. Using that technique, he laid out colorful glass threads in intricate designs inspired by the Navajo textiles. He then fused these threads to the vessel in its molten state.

Chihuly was introduced to working with glass and natural fiber while studying interior design at the University of Washington. His fusion of the two inspired by Navajo and Pendleton blankets represented a bold innovation in glassmaking.

“It was the beginning of my love of Native American design,” he said.

In Santa Fe, N.M., Chihuly helped build a glass hotshop for the Institute of American Indian Arts, which helped launch its glass making program. This provided to be a powerful synergy for the studio glass art movement, the contemporary Native art movement and for Chihuly’s development as an artist.

Chihuly, who was born and raised in Tacoma, Wash., grew up learning about the dozens of indigenous tribes who reside along the Pacific Northwest coast. He has spoken at the library in the past and loaned it his collection of Ulysses Cylinders to mark the library’s renovation a few years ago.

The exhibition is sponsored by Michael and Alexis Rowell.

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