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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Chihuly Masterpiece

Last summer when I traveled west to see my son (and a few of my favorite bloggers) in Canada, I spent a day in Seattle Washington.  One of the things I did was go to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit that is right next to the Space Needle.  Dale Chihuly is an artist who makes amazing sculptures and huge glass installations from blown glass.
I actually first learned of Chihuly from Pinterest where I saw all sorts of art projects for kids using crazy straws.  The actual art is truly amazing.  I especially loved the way the beautiful pieces were lit.  The glass practically glowed.

I decided I wanted to add Chihuly to our Art Unit this year and chose to try making something inspired by this ceiling in Las Vegas:

I have melted plastic cups before and saw that Jeanette from Artchoo! had used them to emulate Chihuly's glass pieces.  I had each child color several plastic cups using permanent markers (bigger markers worked better).

I then put the cup in a toaster oven set to 350.  The artist came and stood next to me and told me when he or she thought I should take the cup out of the oven (it was less than a minute).  I then removed the cup with my bare hand.
It was interesting to see how differently each of the cups shrunk and melted.  We used several different types of cups that I found around my house and school. Originally, we used clear "soft" plastic glasses.  Some turned a little milky and some stayed clear. The Chinet "cut crystal" ones rolled up. When I still need more cups, I found a few blue and pink plastic cups (still transparent) and let the kids decorate those. Because they were too tall for the toaster oven I cut them down which worked  well.  I'm so glad that we ended up using  different types of cups because it added a lot of interest to our final project. I think that all of the cups had the recycle number 6 on the bottom. 

I wanted our Chiluly inspired work to be lit up like the ones I saw in Seattle.  Since one of my light covers was broken, I decided to tape it back together and then hot glue our art directly to the light cover.  It took a lot of cups to cover the entire area but the result is really cool!
Of course my iPhone doesn't begin to do justice to how cool this project looks.  

It makes me want to cover all of my fluorescent lights. Now that would be spectacular!


  1. Ooooooh. That looks amazing. I am inspired. Did you try the plastic fruit cup containers kids bring for snack?

    1. Thanks for sharing this post Sandi. I didn't try fruit cup containers. It would be fun to see how they melt. The cups shrink a lot (like shrinky dinks) so smaller fruit cups would be fun to let the kids make their own smaller sculpture (and its always nice to recycle:)

  2. I love this! I wonder if you could just hot glue it to plexi-glass and lean it against a window. Thanks for the idea.

    1. I love the idea of putting them on plexiglass in front of a window…the sun would be even better than florescent lights.

  3. Oh WOW! That is SO cool, Lyn. I'm going to have to try that for sure.

  4. I've seen that ceiling in Las Vegas and took a few pictures too. I can see why you wanted to replicate it. How cool!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. What an amazing art project! I've never heard of Chiluly, so thanks for a great art lesson!
    Connie Anderson

  6. Wow those are beautiful. I wish we could do that but were not allowed to hang anything from the ceiling per fire marshall rules, ughh!!!! Your kids did an amazing job.

  7. It looks amazing. I'm wondering how I could use the idea on my lesson with kids.
    Thanks for inspiration!

  8. Wow, this Chihuly Masterpiece is so beautiful! Your kindergarten students did wonderful work. You know my daughter goes to a Phoenix kindergarten and she is so creative. Her teacher always praises her for her lovely creations in the class.

  9. I want to be five again so I can be in your class:)

  10. I am a parent that is extremely concerned about the learning of my daughter. I want the best possible education for her but do not want any burden on her as well. So, I decided to take online help for her education. Luckily, I found and this medium of learning has helped me till now.


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