Chihuly: Reflections on Nature (The Big Picture)



I was once helping at a Scout camp when I noticed the t-shirt one of our boys was wearing. Incensed by his audacity to wear something with ARSE emblazoned so prominently I was determined to get him to remove it immediately. As I approached, he turned around and then I saw the rest of the t-shirt with NAL on it. Turns out he was an avid football supporter.

Christians are always encouraged to see God’s Big Picture. That is to say, God had in mind salvation for us humans from the very beginning of creation. There is not the time or capacity to explore this in-depth here, but the point is that very often when we are up against an impossible situation we are so focused on that one part that we fail to see how it fits in with the whole of God’s plan for us.

Sometimes we need to take a step back.

I thought about this as I wandered around Kew Gardens on my third visit to the Chihuly exhibition. At the first visit I was so taken in by how spectacular it all was, and in the second visit I focused on looking closer at the sculptures. This time I wanted to show the setting for the installations: magnificent though they are, they are just a small part of a bigger whole that is the wonderful landscape of Kew.


Summer Sun, so bold and bright up close, looks small when surrounded by the gardens and lake in front of the Palm House


Red Reeds in front of the Waterlily House


I finally managed to get a whole picture of Ethereal White Persian Pond without anyone in the background


Ethereal White Persian Pond surrounded by water lilies


Cattails and Copper Birch Reeds on the way to the Temperate House


A pair of gold and white towers at the front of the Temperate House


Inside the Temperate House, Temperate House Persians hang as a chandelier from the roof, surrounded at floor level by other glass sculptures


Looking down from the balcony of the Temperate House


Similar glass sculptures have also been installed at other botanical gardens and a current list of exhibitions can be found here. Whether you have visited Chihuly at Kew or not, this sumptuous book will give you a background to Dale Chichuly’s life and the sculptures, with many beautiful photos to show how nature can inspire such wonderful shapes and colours.



Chihuly Garden Installations, published by Abrams, ISBN 978-1419701030. This tome is 400 pages long and a wonderful read on wet and windy days when it is better to stay indoors. The book would appeal to anyone who is interested in seeing how similar glass installations were displayed in different botanical gardens and outdoor spaces.

Chihuly: Reflections on Nature at Kew Gardens runs until 27 October 2019.