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Rotolo 92, 2017, 39 x 18 x 22"

Glass twisting toward the sky

Every Rotolo (Italian for “coil”) sculpture is a feat in and of itself. They are heavy, intricate and delicate—requiring as much as 140 pounds of glass and up to seventeen team members working in unison for hours to stretch the boundaries of what glass can do. Chihuly spent months perfecting the process of creating Rotolo works.


Rotolo, 2018, 40 x 20 x 16"


Rotolo, 2018, 43 x 16 x 18"

Clear Rotolo 87, 2017, 42 x 22 x 17"

Rotolo 80, 2018, 44 x 13 x 13"


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James Mongrain, Chihuly, and Andrea Lesnett, The Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 2013

A monumental process

“Each coil weighs about fifteen pounds. It takes a lot of energy, a lot of time with the team. There's no way to hurry these pieces up. We have to be careful. And they're difficult to handle. 122 pounds requires a forklift.” –Chihuly

Hotshop team members placing newly-finished Rotolo into annealer, The Boathouse hotshop, Seattle, 2013

Days in the making

Team Chihuly wears protective gear to transfer just-finished Rotolo to annealing ovens that bring down the temperature of each piece slowly, over the course of several days, to prevent breakage. This step is essential given their weight (noted in each Rotolo’s name).

Rotolo rekindled my excitement for working with clear glass. I was really amazed by the complexity and brilliance of the form, which started from a simple coil.”


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