A year ago, when I read that there would be an installation of Chihuly glass at Biltmore Estate, I made a mental note of the dates it would be there and vowed to get myself to Asheville to see it. I am a big fan of beautiful blown glass, and Chihuly’s work is exquisite! Biltmore is one of my favorite places to visit in the US, and since we lived in Asheville for a few years, I’ve been there a number of times. I never get tired of it, and I see something new every time I visit.
The first time I saw Chihuly glass (at least to know that was what I was seeing) was when I was in Tacoma, Washington, where Rex and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary. It just so happens that Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma, and there are a number of permanent installations there, as well as the Museum of Glass. We walked across the incredibly beautiful Chihuly Bridge of Glass and ogled at the wondrous creations in Union Station. Had we had more time, we could have visited the Tacoma Art Museum, but no matter – I was hooked!
Since then, I’ve admired Chihuly glass at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas (world’s largest glass sculpture!), at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, Chihuly: The Nature of Glass at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Chihuly at the Dallas Arboretum, Chihuly in the Gallery and in the Forest at Crystal Bridges, and at various other places. Chihuly has several permanent installations in the US and abroad – if you haven’t appreciated them in person yet, I encourage you to do so. They are phenomenal! And they are fabulous photo ops and make gorgeous pages!
While I have loved all of the Chihuly exhibitions I’ve seen, the one at Biltmore ranks close to the top for me. In case you haven’t had the opportunity or good fortune to visit Biltmore, it’s the largest privately owned home in the United States. Built for George Vanderbilt at the end of the 19th century, it took six years to construct. The house itself contains four acres of floor space, boasting 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces! And that’s just the house…the gardens, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) cover acres and acres of land, and they are just magnificent.
My sister and I found ourselves in western North Carolina recently to celebrate our aunt’s 90th birthday, so we made sure to include a side trip to Asheville on our itinerary. Since we had all day to explore the estate and admire the glass, we decided to do a special rooftop tour this time. Oh my! What a great decision! We literally got to stand on top of the roof and gaze out over the estate and see the sculptures, shingles, and ironwork up close. I could have screamed when my camera battery died (while on the roof) and I had left the back up in the car. Needless to say, we made a trip back to the car after lunch! Thankfully, I had my phone and another camera as backups. Pages to come later…
All this to say that I’m so glad to have made it to Asheville just in the nick of time to see the Chihuly exhibit, which ended last weekend. I’ve had so much fun making these pages, and it won’t take me long to make my calendar for next year with them!
Enjoy! Fonts used are Monotype Corsiva (titles on every page) and KG Architect’s Daughter (journaling).