Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chihuly Inspired

Early this school year, fueled with ideas from many blogs on Dale Chiluly's glass art, I started shopping for #6 plastic (found it at our local Smart & Final)

and saving my large cranberry juice bottles to use as a base. A few of the blogs I remember particularly are MaryMaking (http://marymaking.blogspot.com/2010/02/dale-chihuly-inspired-sculpture.html), Art With Mr. E, (http://artwithmre.blogspot.com/) and   http://mnpschihulyartlessons.blogspot.com/ .  There was one other where the teacher used 9 oz. clear cups that was interesting, too, but I can't find it now.

Anyway, the other day I went to my box of recycled stuff where I had dumped my large plastic bottles and every last one of them was GONE!!  Perhaps someone thought he or she was being helpful by dumping them for me -- I don't know -- but I knew I couldn't drink enough juice in the time left before we started the lesson, so I went to the 4th grades and put out the call to the kids, hoping I wouldn't get 100 large bottles!!! (I only needed 4 or 5.)

A few years ago, when visiting Seattle, I had the opportunity to see a lot of Chihuly's work (including his Bridge of Glass) and visit the Museum of Glass in Tacoma where they have a "hot shop" with guest artists making glass art.  It was fascinating!!  I showed my class some video clips from Dale Chihuly's website (see my gadget of Sites I Like for the link).  We talked about line designs and how placing complementary colors next to each other creates contrast, and then they were off,  armed with permanent markers and the clear plastic.

When the kids were finished I popped their work into a small convection oven we have at school and watched the magic happen.
I did this outside in the hallway today. It was a breezy day -- perfect,  because I couldn't find any definitive info on the web guaranteeing me that the fumes wouldn't give me some dreaded disease.  I wasn't taking any chances.

After the shapes "baked and curled" I used a glue gun to attach them to the large bottle bases and "Lo and behold..."

Each class got one of their "teamwork" creations and the Art Room gets one, too.  Before I started hot gluing I tied a heavy piece of fish line around the neck of the bottle so we could hang the installation from the ceiling.  I know a lot of folks have posted Dale Chihuly inspired photos lately, but these turned out so whimsical that I couldn't resist the temptation to share!!

CA Content Standard - 2.8 Use complementary colors in an original composition to show contrast and emphasis.


  1. These are terrific! I would have to ask to use the oven in the cafeteria. Are there any fumes from the heated plastics? I worry about toxicity...

  2. I had tried heating one of the plastic lids at home first because I had the same toxicity concern and there definitely was an odor. That's why I put the oven outside at school -- didn't want to take any chances. Even with that precaution, I didn't heat the bulk of the plastic with kids around.