Forming A Disorderly Kew #Kewgardens #Dalechihuly

I’ve always enjoyed sculptures that seek to compliment their habitat. Sort of releasing the artist’s imagination into the wild, as it were. It takes a certain chutzpah to do this as well. Nature, after all, creates both the best canvases and the best vistas.

And it is even more of a challenge to accomplish something that takes the breath away as well as evoking a sort of longing: to see more; to be capable of doing it myself; to have the necessary financial resources to own an example.

I was contemplating this last thought during a visit at the weekend to Kew Gardens. For any readers who have not heard about Kew Gardens it would be on my ‘must visit’ list for any visitor. These are botanic gardens to die for. Not necessarily for the indigenous plants but for their extraordinary collection of trees and their Victorian glasshouses that are home to a world collection of plants.

These days you’d not be allowed to create Kew. Sure you could build the glasshouses but populating them with so many species from around the world and then planting 240 hectares with a biodiversity of trees in these days of invasive species worries and the corruption of the unbuilt environment, nope not a prayer.

The Victorians? Hell no. Maybe there have been disasters as a result of something brought back for Kew. If so they don’t publicise it – though there was a sign talking of over 6000 invasive foreign species being introduced (I assume into the UK).

Instead of worrying about the pollution caused by globalisation, I enjoyed the trees Goodness they are extraordinary.

But what really go my pulse racing was the exhibiting of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures across the gardens and in the art centre. The Textiliste could barely contain her excitement. Part of her textile degree was to study Chihuly influences in her weaving, but her reference points were some examples at the Victoria & Albert museum and what you can glean from books and on line. To be there, enjoying their form and content in the flesh (or at least in the glass) was special.

She it was who posed the question. ‘Would you like to own a piece?’

I wanted to say yes, it would be fabulous. The way the gradations of light as the sun slips into cloud and the sky darkens changes each sculpture is extraordinary, as if the piece is lit from within and without, as if it was a living sculpture, more performance art that static glass.

But – and here’s the thing – imagining any piece chez Le Pard leads inexorably to a second image. That of a Munch like scream face as it dawns on my lovely wife that I have shattered not just her dreams but his sculpture in one supremely stupid act of numbskulledness. Not only could I not live with myself, she would not allow me to live. Period.

No, this was a joy to be observed from a respectful distance. If Parliament has a gap between the benches that is two swords’ lengths apart, then I counted the space between me and each Chihuly in rucksack parabolas.

I’m pleased to report my marriage is currently on-going and not currently up for review…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Forming A Disorderly Kew #Kewgardens #Dalechihuly

  1. Wow–amazing pics. The plants are great, but those glasshouses and the Chihuly sculptures–the way they work in the gardens… Amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. A splendid advocacy

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  3. Darlene says:

    I have been a Chihuly fan for years as he comes from Seattle, Washington, just across the border from Vancouver, BC. So almost a neighbour. I too could not bear the thought of breaking a special piece of his art and so don’t own any of it. It fits in so well, at Kew Gardens.

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  4. Thank you Geoff. The Chihuly sculptures look very happy. It is a long time since I last visited Kew but it was a joy.

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  5. Ritu says:

    Those are stunning!

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  6. Kit Dunsmore says:

    Chihuly sculptures in a botanical garden ARE really exciting to see. I loved it when they were here in Denver. Kew looks amazing. Will have to put it on my list.

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  7. I, of course, wait outside a twelve-foot circle of anything of value. The “You broke it you own it” rule has been enacted too many times to tempt fate any longer.

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  8. Exquisite pieces of glass sculpture. Love them all. I totally understand your reluctance to own a piece.

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  9. restlessjo says:

    They are spectacular, aren’t they? Years since I’ve been to Kew, and I doubt I’ll make it now. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Geoff!

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  10. Mary Smith says:

    These sculptures are stunning, Geoff.

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  11. Elizabeth says:

    As soon as you contemplated buying one I immediately thought of the danger of breakage. Does he do any in plastic?

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  12. willowdot21 says:

    Kew gardens, memories of my childhood ๐Ÿ’œ

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  13. Such a shame (you being a klutz). I’ve never seen a real live Chihuly and I’m green that you got to wander about and admire them amongst the real plants. If you really want to own one, but at a safe distance, might I respectfully suggest, um, here? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. tidalscribe says:

    That would be fantastic to visit. Kew Gardens was my first garden when I was little as we lived in a flat. Haven’t been for many years – last time we went our three year old sat on a cactus in the glass house and all the Japanese tourists gasped in horror!

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  15. I’m not terribly prone to accident, but feel the same. I do not overspend on anything in the house in case of damage.

    Oh, and lovely pictures!

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  16. Pam Lazos says:

    Fabulous sculptures. And invasives are the worst. My son who is going to start his last year of college in the fall has a job for the summer removing the Tree of Heaven which is the habitat for the spotted lanternfly, and invasive from China that really does damage to crops. They are trying to contain the spread which has become alarming here in PA. It’s uncanny, though, how many of our plants are invasive. I guess Columbus started it.

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  17. Widdershins says:

    Heh, heh, heh … well done! ๐Ÿ˜€ … they are truly breathtaking! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  18. As soon as I saw the first photo, I knew I was in Chihuly country. I saw an installation of his at Kew some years ago and have been fortunately enough to see several others here in the States. His work is amazing and beautiful.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jennie says:

    His glass sculptures are breathtaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rhonda says:

    Aren’t Chihuly pieces stunning? We saw them on a trip to Denver, prior to moving here a few years ago, at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I got some cool pics too. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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