21 March 2009
My Neck of the Woods - Museum of Glass
Shelly over at This Eclectic Life has started a new feature for Saturdays called "My Neck of The Woods". The rules are simple in order to participate:
1. Talk about something that you have visited, so you can give a first-hand review of it for the readers.
2. Title it “My Neck Of The Woods [+ the name of the attraction or the town],” and tag it with “travel” and your state, so people could track them all on the Internet.
3. Come back to my own posting for that Saturday to let me know, so we can share links.
Since this is the first week, I'll start out gently. Tacoma, Washington where I live is sort of the red headed step child of the state. It isn't the magnificent big city of Seattle. It isn't the State Capitol of Olympia. It isn't one of the glorious natural areas or Indian homelands. It isn't even one of the quirkier little kitschy ethnic hamlets complete with faux Swiss Chalets and Alpenhorns. It's one of those basic bedroom communities that are almost somewhere else. The really big nearby areas of "somewhere else" are Mount Rainier where we will go eventually if it doesn't blow up first and Fort Lewis which gives the area a heavy military presence also reserved for another date.
In recent years there has been an attempt to revive the older portions of town, create interest and activity around an industrial (Tacoma Aroma) port, and encourage the outlying home owners to come into the vicinity of downtown. The majority of this activity is centered around two areas: Tacoma Dome (Another Saturday) and The Museum District. You get one third of this area today: The Museum of Glass.
You reach the Museum of Glass by walking under the Seaform Pavilion (below right) past the wall of more than 100 Chihuly glass sculptures (below left) and across the Chihuly Bridge to enter the modernistic glass cone (yes it is glass) that dominates the landscape (above center). The pictures on the page do not do it justice, but can only give you a hint of the artwork ahead.
Once inside you have your choice of three different galleries that display glass in all its forms of blown, etched, and molded into both fantastic forms and usable items. If you are curious about the how these beautiful items are created there is a working Hot Shop with amphitheater and lecturing tour guides pointing out the various stages of creativity as you watch skilled artisans create with molten glass.
Once you have marveled at all the possibilities there is a museum shop with objects from quirky glass animals and inexpensive marbles to fabulous art works valued into the thousands. So if you get off a plane at Seatac International Airport and take the freeway the wrong direction to end up in the Tac part instead of the Sea part, do make the time for a little glass work while you are here.