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#ChihulyWebShorts: Fire Orange Baskets

"It's the light – the light going through here. How do you get a stronger presence than that? That's why glass is such a fabulous material." –Chihuly

Dale Chihuly
Fire Orange Baskets
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, installed 2017

When planning his 2016 exhibition, "CHIHULY," at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Dale Chihuly was resolved to show his iconic “Basket” form in a bold new way. His solution involved pushing the form to its limits to create his largest vessels to date, exploring new, fiery hues, and presenting the forms en mass in a composition titled "Fire Orange Baskets." 

In this month's #ChihulyWebShorts, we are thrilled to share behind-the-scenes footage of Chihuly’s process to create this striking installation.

Final shaping before break off
The Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 2013

Blowing up the bubble on the blowpipe
The Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 2013

For the color, Chihuly wanted to evoke the warmth of the dancing flames he encounters in the hotshop with his glassblowing team. Through experimentation, he developed a palette ranging from deep crimson to brilliant neon orange which he accented with a contrasting black lip wrap.

For the size, he pushed the material to create his biggest ever "Baskets," forcing he and his team to work significantly faster than usual as the massive forms were prone to collapsing in on themselves. Stretching the boundaries of the glass also made the material thinner, increasing the transparency of the vessels and exposing more dynamic transitions of color within each individual form.

For the installation, Chihuly nested smaller forms into the massive-yet delicate vessels with an aim both to create his ideal individual compositions as well as a harmonious grouping as a whole.

"Fire Orange Baskets" installations have since been presented in museum exhibitions such as “Chihuly in the Gallery + the Forest” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the current exhibition  "Dreaming Forms: Chihuly Then and Now" at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum in Naples, Florida. Individual pedestal compositions of this body of work can also be viewed as part of "CHIHULY" at Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto, Ontario.

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