Last summer we spent a few days in Seattle, a grunge-hipster place of street markets, art, and beer. One of the attractions we visited was Chihuly Gardens, a museum of glass forms created by students of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. It's located in the Space Needle complex downtown and was predictably overrun with camera-laden tourists like me.
|The exhibits consist of dark mirrored spaces filled with brightly colored plant-like forms. These are arranged in large arrays punctuated by the occasional bowl. Dramatic lighting enhances the effect, and there is also an outdoor garden, where a few species of glass frond seem to thrive in the fog.
|In fact the same few species also dominate indoors: although the initial impression is one of diversity, probably only a dozen different glass forms populate the museum.
Next door at the Collections Cafe, an erudite clientele takes part in the fare under a ceiling lined with accordions (are they playing suspended chords?). Seattle is also home to the Petosa Accordion Museum. The name of the cafe is thought to allude to the pervading ideology of the complex: admission to the museum is $19. It's free if you're under 3, but if you break it, you own it.