Named after a lagoon in Venice, Italy, Laguna Torcello, is part of Chihuly’s Mille Fiori (a “thousand flowers” in Italian) series, which began in 2003. Laguna Torcello II focuses on the gold color palette from this iconic installation, and features an array of Chihuly forms, including reeds, fiori, eelgrass, floats, and Towers, the only exhibit inside Biltmore House.
Chihuly’s Sky Blue and Cobalt Fiori around the fountain in front of the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina
Vivid colors of Chihuly artwork at Biltmore are enhanced when lighted at night
The Chihuly exhibits at Biltmore are even more spectacular when lighted at night. Here are the reeds just about when the lights first come on ….
Chihuly first filled boats with glass in Nuutajärvi, Finland, during the “Chihuly Over Venice” project in 1995. After several days of glassblowing, Chihuly started tossing glass forms into the Nuutajoki river to see how they would look in the environment. As the glass floated downstream it was retrieved in wooden boats by local teenagers, inspiring Chihuly to begin massing forms into wooden boats, creating what would become the Boat series.
Named for the island of Niijima in Tokyo Bay, and for the small Japanese fishing floats Chihuly would find on the shores of Puget Sound as a child, Niijima Floats are very likely the largest glass spheres ever blown (up to 40 inches in diameter and up to 80 pounds). The Floats are generally displayed in groups, either indoors or outdoors. New Floats were blown for the Biltmore exhibition.
Chihuly made his first Reeds in 1995 at the Hackman factory in Nuutajärvi, a small glassblowing town in Finland. The Hackman facility had high ceilings and large annealing ovens, allowing Chihuly to make these elongated forms.
To create the long, tubular shape of a Reed, one glassblower must be elevated in a mechanical lift while blowing through the pipe to encourage the form to stretch, while another pulls the glass toward the ground.
Neodymium Reeds with Fiori Verdi at Biltmore incorporates reeds that were made at the Hackman factory in Nuutajärvi.
The Fiori Boat, designed for Chihuly at Biltmore, features a vast array of Chihuly’s whimsical, nature-inspired forms, including herons, seal pups, marlins, cattails, onions, and reeds.