Chihuly Sculptures at Kew Gardens

By The Arty Teacher - July 20, 2019

Dale Chihuly: Reflections in Nature

The chihuly sculptures at kew gardens

The real joy of seeing the dazzling Chihuly sculptures at Kew Gardens is to see how Chihuly has responded to the landscape and built environment.  Each glass sculpture works within the space where it is located either working with the plants around it or dominating a vista as you turn a corner.  There are 32 separate installations to see throughout the gardens and also works inside the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.

 “I want my work to appear like it came from nature, so that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.” ~ Dale Chihuly

I went with my family but couldn’t help looking at things with my art teacher hat on.  If you are going to take a group of students to the Chihuly, you’ll find the activities and tips below useful.  Especially if you haven’t been to Kew before.

Ideas for Activities for Students

Challenge your students to photograph the sculptures.  Ask them to capture a sculpture that:

  • reminds them of something from the sea
  • that floats
  • a sculpture with ‘Persian’ in the title
  • an outdoor sculpture
  • a sculpture that is suspended
  • a close-up of their favourite sculpture

After looking at Chihuly’s drawings in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, ask students to create a charcoal drawing of a sculpture that mirrors Chihulys style.

  • Simply ask students to draw the sculpture that appeals to them the most in colour or monochrome.
  • Ask students to create a series of small quick sketches that capture the dynamic lines in Chihuly’s work.

We ended up in the Waterlily House to view ‘Ethereal White Persian Pond’ where white, flower-like sculptures nestle among the waterlilies and the beauty of the building and sculptures reflect on the water.  A tranquil and breathtaking end to the day.

Tips for Enjoying the Chihuly Sculptures at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens might be bigger than you think.  Everyone should wear comfortable shoes and bring water.  Is it going to be wet?  If so you’ll need a waterproof.  Is it going to be suncream and sunhat weather?  Seeing this exhibition is essentially a day outside, so you need to be prepared.

There are several cafes and nice places to eat but if the weather is good there are lots of benches in beautiful locations which are ideal for a picnic.

You need to book groups in advance and you can find the group bookings page here.  Children’s tickets (up to 16 years) are already at the incredibly reasonable price of £4.50 so there is no further discount for groups but there is a small discount for adults.  There is also a student price of £8.

Dale Chihuly: Reflections on Nature is on until 27 October. The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art includes an exhibition of some of Chihuly’s most technically challenging series: Drawings, Rotolo and Seaforms. You can also experience the artist’s outdoor sculptures during Chihuly Nights with specially commissioned music, featuring wind instruments and the human voice to reflect Chihuly’s use of breath in creating his artworks.

Why not use this Dale Chihuly crossword with your students?  Click the image to find out more.

dale chihuly crossword

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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