A while back I saw a great Chihuly lesson posted on The Crayon Lab blog (here). I've seen quite a few Chihuly inspired art lessons on the web, but I liked the simplicity of using rubber bands to hold the coffee filters on paint bottles before spraying starch on them.
I pretty much followed the steps in that lesson, except I didn't have enough paint bottles, so we used plastic cups from Smart & Final (seems like I've been living there lately!).
I also showed the kids a slide show loop that is on Dale Chihuly's site ( here ), explaining that macchia means "spotted" in Italian. They also watched a short interview with the artist, in which he explains how he named the series (which he originally was referring to as "the uglies" because his mother thought they were ugly!! (interview is here) I like the video clip on The Crayon Lab site, but it was a bit long, and showing YouTube at our school is a problem. With the help of another teacher, we managed to show half of that video to one of the classes.
Students thought about their color plan, putting lighter colors down first and making the spots on top of that layer of color. This actually follows the way the Chihuly team applies the colored spots (or jimmies) after the main part of the piece has been formed. We used regular Crayola watercolor markers and a coffee filter.