My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Color and Form Overload

May 5, 2017

We continued our Chihuly Garden and Museum Tour starting back from the beginning of the Museum which is divided into several galleries or rooms. We started in a  hall that passed a darkened  room that was a forest of blown glass that was glowing with neon.

From there, it just kept getting better. The next room was dedicated to the local Native Americans. Chihuly had displays of their baskets and cloth, as well as many portraits.  His glassware took ideas from their art.

Another gallery only had a few little pieces and then one HUGE one that was vase-shaped but represented the sea and its creatures. I really loved it and spent a lot of time trying to photograph each species of creature. I also enjoyed how the glass looked like waves, when seen up close.  You'll get more detail if you will click on the picture to see it full screen.

The most mind blowing of the rooms was a huge and exuberant display of his various glass techniques.  It was called Milli Fiori, which is Italian for Thousand Flowers, and looked like a huge garden. The oval platform was probably fifty feet long and thirty feet across.  It was made out of a reflective black surface so the beauty was doubled. I looked great and almost overwhelming from end to end and then gave new and different views as you walked around it.

A smaller room held a platform with only two boats on it filled with his work.  One was full of floats and the other was full of what he called Ikebana. 

Another room, as well as an outside deck, held his chandeliers.

Another small room was dedicated to the Macchia Forest. This is a series of very large bowls in which he mastered the technique of putting a white, or cloud, layer, between two layers of glass embedded with colors. It makes for striking colors.  I attended a short discussion of how these bowls are made and got to be interactive with the bowls. They are displayed with light shining on them from above. But we shone our cell phone flashlights on the exteriors and found the colors appeared completely different. Another favorite.

A variation of how he exhibits his work is found in the Persian Ceiling Gallery. He lays down a layer of clear glass suspended across wooden beams, then layers on pieces of his work. I had to look this up and found a wonderful discussion of his Persian series and how it was inspired by the past, both Persian gardens and glass.  ALL the art is over head in this gallery. But the overhead lights wash the colors down the walls, making you feel as though you were in a magical cave.

I took pictures of two pictures that tell a story of how Dale Chihuly works. The first picture is of him painting.  These paintings sell for at least $2000, from what I could see in the gift shop. Chihuly's paintings were in large panels both within the museum and the Collection Cafe. (another blog) After he lost an eye in a glass blowing accident, he had others carry out his vision. He started to make drawings to communicate his ides to them, then went on to produce them as another art form.  The second picture is of a panel of his paintings shown in the Museum.

This is taken from another picture in the gallery showing how he shaped his large bowls before he lost his eye.

The museum offers "free pictures" of you.  I'm sure it was priced in the ticket cost and it also advertises the Museum. It did make a nice keepsake for Teri and me. We were sent an email, a few minutes after the picture was taken, with it as an attachment.

Here is a list of current and future exhibitions as well as collections. Some may be near you. Natalie and I visited the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Luis, Mo on the day the workers were packing up his glass onions that float on the lily pond,  in advance of the first freeze of the fall.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Bonneville Lock and Dam

April 27, 2017

One of the places Jo took me while I visited her in Portland, was to Bonneville Lock and Dam.  There is a wonderful visitor center there and a nearby fish hatchery. We visited on a cloudy day with intermittent rain, but made it to our car only minutes before a torrential downpour. 

I was struck by the beautiful landscaping and ran around in a misty rain taking pictures before we got inside the visitor center.

The rhododendron flowers look almost transparent

A rufous hummingbird was enjoying the blooming Oregon grape. 

Inside, we found the visitor center overlooked the dam  fish ladders and was on four levels, three of which were open to the public, while the fourth was for the administration.

We hoped to be able to sit in the lowest level and see fish swimming through the fish ladders. Alas, this day was too cold and rainy to encourage the fish to go upstream to spawn.  So we had to make do with the interesting exhibits on that level. We also enjoyed a video on how Franklin D. Roosevelt was forward thinking enough to have this dam  built and give hundreds of men jobs during the great depression. 

Models of some of the fish that use the fish ladders

More models

Poster that shows where the fish coming through here go

Beginning of the fish ladders

The fish work through a "maze" that allows them to rest in eddies as they go through the fish ladder. 

We only got to see these tiny salmon

We broke for lunch and went another four miles up the coast to a really good little restaurant. Then we went just a little further to some now abandoned locks where the local Native Americans are allowed to fish from platforms on either side of the locks.

View from the restuarent

Native American fishing platform

This looks like it could be fun in the summer when it is running

After lunch, we went to the fish hatchery that adjoins the dam. The season's fish had all been released, and only the breeding stock were there. We saw mostly rainbow trout and sturgeon.  The largest sturgeon was 70 years old.

Rainbow trout

A medium sized sturgeon

A bunch of sturgeon including the old guy

A rainbow trout

We watched a huge dark cloud race up and decided to rush to the car.  We made it with seconds to spare before a heavy rain began. Portland, had had, by this day, I think, 165 days of clouds and rain and only a few days of sun. 

On the personal front, I've been enjoying two days of snow and a week of needing my long John bottoms, a first of the year for me. I managed to get in our weekly mountain bluebird survey and counted 105 eggs and five brooding momas. (Only the female bluebirds have a brood patch.)  In less then two weeks, we'll have our first bluebird babies.  The tree swallows are somewhat around, but it is still way too cold for them to start nesting.  They feed on flying insects, while the bluebirds mostly feed on caterpillars and moths which are available much earlier.  I'm getting organized to run my bee surveys, hopefully starting next week. And continuing to get the volunteer quarters clean and stocked for our summer folk.