Installation Art - Lap Pool | Artopia

Dale Chihuly

A Closer Look

Can you imagine swimming in a lighted sculpture of colorful glass? Look at the richness of the colors as the swimmer floats over the glass forms. It's as though she is at the bottom of the ocean with sea life all around her. The reflection of the colors on the surface of the water intensifies the sensation. Chihuly repeats colors in Lap Pool. Try making an artwork by folding and crushing colored paper and making forms like fans. Put them together and be sure to repeat certain colors.

About the Sculpture

Dale Chihuly's studio, the Boathouse, is a huge building in Tacoma, Washington that used to be a boat factory. The Lap Pool, located in the Boathouse, is an actual swimming pool. The colorful shapes in the pool are blown glass, a traditional Italian art form. Chihuly works with a team of master glassblowers and assistants, making it possible to produce much larger glass sculptures than he could make by himself.

About the Artist

The Pacific Northwest, where Dale Chihuly grew up, has shaped his work. The flower pieces he creates remind him of his mother’s garden. The sea forms he makes out of glass resemble the creatures he saw in the ocean as a child, and he got the idea for his basket series from the woven baskets of Northwest Coast Indians. He is a founder of the Pilchuk Glass School and has had a major influence on artists working in glass.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.