Textiles on glass
Since 1975, Chihuly has created an ever-evolving range of Cylinders with glass thread drawings fused onto molten bubbles. This revolutionary “pick-up drawing” technique has allowed Chihuly to integrate a wide range of motifs starting with his early works, particularly patterns inspired by Native American textiles.
Chihuly’s “pickup” drawing technique
Developed in 1974, this breakthrough technique involves pulling glass threads from glass rods and laying them out in an intricate design, which is then heated. By rolling a bubble of molten glass over the glass thread design, the resulting image is fully integrated into the form rather than laid or inlaid onto it.
SEE THE PROCESS
“We came up with this technique where we’d lay out little bits of glass on the steel table to create a pattern or drawing, and then pick it up with molten glass, and then blow that glass into a form.”
Inspired by Native American textiles
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, Chihuly is deeply influenced by Native American culture. The designs on his Navajo Blanket Cylinders were inspired by a major exhibition of Native American blankets he had seen at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
A form full of possibilities
Chihuly has revisited and reinterpreted this series again and again—creating pieces as varied as whimsical Irish Cylinders and monochromatic White Cylinders. Two of Chihuly’s most iconic explorations of this classic form became full-fledged series: Soft Cylinders and Jerusalem Cylinders.