Museum of Glass

I highly recommend a visit to the Museum of Glass if you’re in the Tacoma, Washington area. The museum focuses on contemporary and Pacific Northwest glass art and is a wonderful way to spend a rainy day. The building, designed by Canadian architect Arthur Ericson, is quite beautiful to behold, with a 90-foot-tall stainless steel cone housing a hot shop filled with furnaces and glory holes. Artists work on glass pieces and give glass-blowing demonstrations as visitors watch on, mesmerized, from surrounding seats in the amphitheatre.

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

The grounds are also a visual delight, with a joyful glass sculpture by Martin Blank called ‘Fluent Steps’ celebrating the different stages of water from mist to waterfall, all dancing over a 210 foot reflecting pool in the main plaza outside the museum.

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington fluent steps martin blank

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington martin blank fluent steps

Exhibitions are a mix of permanent and visiting collections. During my visit yesterday I saw several very different collections. Population by Ray Turner features an array of portraits painted on glass.

ray turner population glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

Maestro is a collection of recent works by Lino Tagliapietra, who trained with the glass masters of Murano and is hailed as the greatest living glassblower. Just take a look at his work and you can see why.

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington mastro lino Tagliapietra

maestro lino Tagliapietra  glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

maestro lino Tagliapietra glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

maestro lino Tagliapietra glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

One of the most imaginative exhibits was a series of glass sculptures designed by children and realised by visiting artists. Here are a few of my favourites.

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

The Sockness Monster

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

Polka-dot(t)ed strange creature

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

Star Raccoon

glass furnace molten tacoma museum washington

Snake on a pole

There was one other exhibit I took in yesterday; it was so stunning I am giving it a post all to itself – see here.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day the museum is open 7 days a week; the rest of the year, they close on Mondays and Tuesdays. Located at 1801 Dock St. Tacoma, WA 98402. Definitely check it out if you have a chance and if you’re feeling creative, you could even take a class.

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue wheresmybackpack.com Remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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58 Responses to Museum of Glass

  1. The fluent steps are so beautiful. I think I could look at them for hours.

  2. Deb says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for highlighting this lovely area, and for not mentioning by name the renown Dale C. -who for many is all things glass in this area.

    • ailsapm says:

      Haha. I abstained, Deb, there are so many wonderful artists out there. Lino Tagliapietra, coming up to 80 years old, still blows his own glass – I wonder when D C last did that?

  3. gkm2011 says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

  4. Carol Snyder says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I am originally from Seattle, and have never heard of the musuem. I will have to see it on my next visit. I am hoping there will be a nice representation of Chihuly as well (even if he gets more than his share of press, I do enjoy his work!). Thanks for sharing this…

  5. fgassette says:

    Your photographs of these amazing and beautiful works of glass art are absolutely stunning. How you did it with these results is art in itself. To me photographing glass is hard. I congratulate you on a job well done.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    • ailsapm says:

      Haha, thanks Francine. Watching the glass artists in action made me appreciate the finery of the end product all the more, it’s such intricate work.

  6. these are all fantastic! after seeing all of that ‘freshness’ it’s going to be hard to tweak my attention to the painting that’s waiting.. it’s almost finished, but it’s full of browns – pottery shards and such.
    seeing these was a great visual delight! thanks, z

  7. loganbruin says:

    Whoa, those are awesome. I love glass art, every time I’m in Venice I go to Murano and get so mesmerized by their process I forget to take photos! ;o)

    • ailsapm says:

      It’s absolutely fascinating to watch, isn’t it? Such an intricate process. One of the pieces being made yesterday shattered right at the end, so sad!

  8. Cee Neuner says:

    I’ve been to the outside of the museum and had a lot of fun. It’s gorgeous there! Great photos!!!

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Those bronze coloured speary shapes are breathtaking!

  10. If I’m ever in Tacoma, this will be on my list of places to visit. Breathtaking, and beautifully captured Ailsa! – Suzan -

  11. Jenster says:

    I love the Maestro collection! So beautiful!

  12. Jo Bryant says:

    what a collection Ailsa – stunning images

  13. Incredibly beautiful!

  14. Amy says:

    Great shots of these gorgeous glass collection! Thank you, Ailsa!

  15. viveka says:

    What an amazing place and what amazing photos you have taken – so so Beautiful .. my favorite is The Sockness Monster . maybe not the most beautiful, but the most fun – we have some beautiful glassworks in Sweden, Swedish crystal from Orrefors, Kosta Boda … stunning … I would love to spend a day .. how could I missed this when I was in Seattle last summer, a good reason for going back. Thank you so much .. for sharing. You made my night so beautiful.

  16. josimonian says:

    I love these photos!

  17. elizz says:

    the kids’ works of art are beautiful..

  18. vyvacious says:

    This is absolutely lovely!!

  19. kz says:

    oh they are stunning, stunning, stunning! ^^

  20. Karen says:

    kids stuff was so fresh! I think the polka dotted strange creature is related to an elephant – no? What do you think it was?!

  21. Thanks for the photo tour! “The Sockness Monster.” What a great name. :)

  22. petit4chocolatier says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

  23. Pingback: Travel Theme: Glass « Rainbow Bakery

  24. adinparadise says:

    What beautiful works of art, Ailsa. I really love the children’s designs too. So creative and clever. :)

  25. The Sockness Monster is Awesome!!! looking forward to reading your posts for some travel inspiration :)

  26. I especially love the silly ones!
    Did you know there’s a glass museum in Venice, on the island of Murano?

    • ailsapm says:

      Me too, seductivevenice, the silly ones are so much fun! I have heard of the glass museum on Murano, but didn’t have a chance to visit when I was in Venice. It’s supposed to be amazing, have you been? xxx Ailsa

  27. Sartenada says:

    Awesome glass museum. I am happy that You presented Your beautiful photos here.

    In Finland we have also nice glass museum:

    Riihimäki glass museum.

    Happy blogging!

  28. Wow! Those are gorgeous! There are some incredibly talented people out there!!

  29. VixenArtwear says:

    I really appreciate how glass provides a beautiful medium in which to define space. Thanks for sharing!

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