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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Team Chihuly by Dale Chihuly

Team Chihuly by Dale Chihuly. Seattle, Washington: Portland Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-57684-163-1

It has always seemed strange to me that Dale Chihuly, the great master artist of glass blowing, has always worked in teams. And that, in fact, for many years, has done very little actual glass blowing, glass handling, very little of the physical act of creation, himself. With so many others actually doing all of the physical work, why does Chihuly get all the credit? Why is he considered the artist, and all of this, his work?

Well, in this book, Chihuly pays homage to the talented teams who have worked with him to create all of his masterpieces. He lists them by name, describes his relationships with many of them, and presents them in pictures, showing them at work with and for and through him. I still don't understand what it is about him that inspires and motivates so many people to work so hard for HIS reputation. But at least he acknowledges their contributions in this book.

He must indeed be a truly charismatic personality, who projects a compelling vision, so compelling that other people willingly subsume their own creativity and efforts to realize HIS reality, and help to create HIS conceptions.

Not that Chihuly hasn't had occasional defectors. In a well-publicized lawsuit, the master accused one of his former team members of making knock-off imitations of his work, and allowing a third person to sell them under his name. Needless to say, this defecting former team member is not included in the alphabetical listing of Team Chihuly found in the back of this book!

Still, any fan of Chihuly, of which I must number myself as one, will probably want to take a look at this book. My only complaint is that it's more about the team than the work. There ARE pictures of the work, but they are definitely playing second fiddle to the team. And that's undoubtedly as it should be, but still disappointing, since it's the work, the glass, that captivates me, regardless of how it was created or manufactured. Still, the book is definitely recommended for anyone and everyone with an interest in Chihuly or his work.

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