Arizona is always a beautiful break from Minnesota in January. This week, January 20, 2014, it has been especially so. The evening low temperatures in Minnesota have been below zero while the daily highs have been in the middle 70’s in Arizona. The skies have been a beautiful azure with almost no clouds and just enough wind to be pleasant.
Of course for me, being away from the snow and cold means I want to spend most of my time outside soaking up the sun and trying to absorb as much vitamin D as possible. On Monday I found an excellent way to do just that, while at the same time feeding the artistic side of my soul as well.
I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix which just so happened to be hosting a Dale Chihuly glass art exhibit.
The sensual shapes and vibrant colors of glass art have always intrigued me, making the form one of my favorites in the art world. I investigated Dale Chihuly a couple of years ago when I was writing a novel about a young artist named Alexander. The connection was around the challenges faced with moving near priceless pieces of artwork from one exhibit space to another.
Dale Chihuly’s blown glass art pieces are the biggest I have ever seen. Blown glass isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind when you think sculpture, but these are definitely in that category. I’m not talking living room coffee table sculpture, either, although he produces that as well. The sculpture here requires space to snake around on the ground, shoot into the air, burst forth in light or serenely float in a bed of weeds.
The Desert Botanical Gardens are beautiful in their own right as well. January is not the right time of the year for desert flowers, but there is still color, shape and texture. In addition, there are some historical structures that are educational around the Native Americans of the southwest (the open kitchen is pictured) as well as lots of birds. We saw pairs of owls, several ruby throated humming birds (the nests are shown next to my thumb) as well as this lovely Cardinal. It was definitely a worthwhile stop for my week in Arizona!