Review Detail

Heart of Glass
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
5.0
Learning Value 
 
5.0
This book is a great overview for fans and newcomers alike. The first three chapters cover Chihuly's childhood, college, and young adult experiences, which included traveling around Europe in the early 1960s. He became interested in art in college, and after finishing and getting two masters degrees, he returned to the west coast and set up the Pilchuck Glass School with other artists in the 1970s. The book then describes the course of his art career, which is doubly remarkable because he lost sight in one eye in the mid 1970s, and has had to rely on others to actually make a good deal of the sculptures that he envisions. His various installations and series are described and well illustrated.
Good Points
If you've never seen any of Chihuly's art installations, it's hard to describe how amazing they are. The blown glass pieces themselves are amazing, but the way that Chihuly sets these pieces into parks and plant exhibits is truly extraordinary. I was lucky enough to see the exhibits in Kew Gardens in 2005, and my daughter's elementary school actually hosted this artist while he was working on an installation at the Franklin Park Conservatory.

This was written in a particularly interesting way, going back and forth between what was going on in Chihuly's life with how his art was developing. There's a great mixof pictures and text, and the notes and bibliography, as well as a partial listing of exhibits, at the end of the book are helpful. This is a great resource for young readers who might have to do a research project on an artist, or who want a good overview of Chihuly's work. It would also make a great coffee table book for a fan of this artist.
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