Chomping at the bit for Chihuly

Come chomp with me!

I have been waiting eagerly for the Chihuly exhibition, Reflections on Nature, to open at Kew Gardens, and was there on the first day for the public (13 April). The exhibition consist of 32 individual installations, with many drawings and smaller pieces on display in one of the exhibition rooms.

The weather wasn’t the best, but the artwork is stunning and Kew is gorgeous in Spring, whatever the climate serves up. So let’s get started.

Arriving at Kew Gardens by train (overground and underground), means the closest entrance into the gardens is the Victoria Gate, and just inside a Sapphire Star is now waiting to greet us.

Sapphire Star, blown glass and steel, 2010, Chihuly

The sapphire sets the scene well for what lies in store.

Lime Crystal Tower, polyvitro and steel, 2006, Chihuly

I have two main spots I want us to see on this visit, and the first of these is the Temperate House. Since its reopening last year, it is now the highlight of Kew for me (tight competition from the Hive though) and I know that it has been blessed with a new piece by Chihuly, specially made for this exhibition.

Temperate House, Kew Gardens, April 2019

Outside the main entrance, stand two giant glass towers, that look entirely at home in front of the Victorian glasshouse.

Opal and Amber Tower, blown glass and steel, 2018, Chihuly

Inside the Temperate House, the hanging blue artwork grabs your attention the moment you enter. Nine metres of colourful and ornate glass hang from the centre of the glass ceiling, visible from any angle.

Temperate House Persians, 2019, Chihuly

And there are plenty more fascinating, smaller pieces set amongst the 10,000 plants in here.

It is possible to spend a long time in here, admiring the artwork, the plants and the building itself. But time to move on. We’ll head out from the north side, towards King William’s Temple and the cherry garden.

The cherry blossoms are glorious at the moment, and are enhanced by the reds and golds of the Cattails and Copper Birch Reeds that are scattered beneath them, together with a collection of budding tulips. The tulips should be in full bloom very soon, adding more stunning colours to this scene.

Now, we’ll make a quick blue stop at the Neodymium Reeds and Turquoise Marlins, before heading on to another must-see piece.

Outside the Palm House, overlooking the lake, stands one of Chihuly’s classic suns. This is a Summer Sun, a glowing bundle of 1,483 separate elements.

Summer Sun, 1998, Chihuly

We are now close to the cafe, shop and exit and rain is threatening again. There are a few pieces of the exhibition that we haven’t seen yet, but it’s always good to have an excuse to return. And personally, I want to get back soon to see the tulips in full form.


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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 15 April 2019

Posted as part of Monday Walks

14 thoughts on “Chomping at the bit for Chihuly

  1. I wondered who would be first! So I an green with envy. I had caught a feature on the News yesterday about this new installation, it looked really exciting and a visit to Kew needs to be planned. It was the Summer Sun that left the biggest impression on the all too brief news feature, looked great from across the lake. So great to have a more detail look courtesy of your camera 🙂

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