My wife, Donica, and I are BIG fans of Bollywood movies. The more singing, dancing and colorful saris, the better. Imagine our surprise, then, when we went to Mumbai for a wedding a few years back and didn’t discover the Bollywood-style colors and music we were expecting. To our disappointment, Mumbai was, in fact, a bit drab – like most big metropolises, especially in developing countries. Could it be that India reserves all its technicolor fever dreams for the movies alone?
What we learned later, back home in the U.S., is that you don’t have to travel to the far ends of the earth to find a bombardment of color and magic; you can find all that and more in little old Seattle, Washington, at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. American-born Dale Chihuly is a glass artist like no other. Although his largest installation is in Oklahoma, Chihuly’s work is perhaps best showcased in Seattle, in the shadow of the Space Needle. If you’ve never seen the artist’s work, prepare yourself. About the best way to describe a Chihuly glass sculpture is “technicolor floral.” His blown-glass concoctions ripple and swirl like trees and vines. Many hang from the ceiling; others erupt from the ground like underwater coral fantasies. And every there’s COLOR. Chahuly is not a man for subtly. You know how eating certain popsicles can make your tongue turn blue or green or red. I imagine Chahuly’s glass sculptures have the same effect on your retinas. How long, I wonder, one must wait for their to recover from the “Chahuly experience.”
Donica and I take our time as we wander through the Chihuly museum, wondering what explosion of color we’ll see next. Will it be iridescent globes, pulsating palm fronds, or something beyond the realm of imagination? Much of the museum is dark, like a black-light poster shop. Then you step outside and see what living glasswork looks like in a garden, under a blue sky. As we near the end, I can’t help thinking, “This is why I travel. To be inspired, amazed and ultimately, transformed.”
(What’s the most beautiful museum you’ve ever been to? Have you ever left one saying, “I’m changed”? How can you create that kind of environment in your own home space? And more importantly, how can you work to change others?)