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Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire


Since 1971 the Pilchuck Glass School has pushed the limits of a medium that can last centuries or shatter in an instant. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges, Pilchuck: A Dance with Fire documents the remarkable convergence of visionaries, culture and good luck that made Pilchuck the world-class art school it is today. This one-of-a-kind film is being fed by NETA to public television stations in September 2015.

The story of the people and events that make up the past 44 years of Pilchuck history is told through firsthand accounts by those who transformed it from a makeshift summer workshop to an arts center that attracts glass masters and students from all over the globe. Founded by iconic figure Dale Chihuly and a few art school friends in the counterculture days of the early 1970s, the Pilchuck Glass School pushed the boundaries from its very beginnings. Started as an experiment in living off the land and making art by hand, the school quickly became an international crossroads for diverse and historically important traditions in glassmaking.  

Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Lino Tagliapietra, Kiki Smith and dozens of others describe the remarkable glass art movement and their roles in shaping its course and direction. An entertaining mix of interviews, rare stills, color slides, home movies and music from the past four decades move the story forward with historical context. Beautiful glass-blowing sequences explore the creative skills of artists working with glass in a variety of dynamic ways.  

Through the roller coaster that is the school’s history we see the development of the artists who remade glass as an expressive medium. The film embodies the “Pilchuck Spirit,” the highly collaborative ways artists work, teach and create that empowered generations to explore and share all the possibilities that glass has as an art form. 


  

Or as Pilchuck founding artistic director Dale Chihuly puts it, “If you have an exciting place to be and you’re isolated in the country and you’re having fun, and doing some great work—what could more could you ask for?”      

Pilchuck hothouse in the mid 1980s

Pilchuck Glass School and Chihuly, Inc.

Pilchuck hothouse in the mid 1980s

 

Director John Forsen on the set of Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire

Gary Gibson

Director John Forsen on the set of Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire

 

Dale Chihuly's first blanket cylinders (1973)

Pilchuck Glass School and Chihuly, Inc.

Dale Chihuly’s first blanket cylinders (1973)

 

Interviewing Dick Marquis for Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire

Gary Gibson

Interviewing Dick Marquis for Pilchuck: A Dance With Fire

 

Artist Dante Mariioni makes glass

Gary Gibson

Artist Dante Mariioni makes glass

Lime Green Persian Set with Cherry Lip Wraps, 2000, by Dale Chihuly

Lime Green Persian Set with Cherry Lip Wraps, 2000, by Dale Chihuly

Purple Reticello Urn by Dante Marioni

Purple Reticello Urn by Dante Marioni

Raven Steals the Moon by Preston Singletary

Photo by Russell Johnson, courtesy of Preston Singletary

Raven Steals the Moon by Preston Singletary

Glass art by Dick Marquis

D. Marquis

Glass art by Dick Marquis

Blown glass art by Fritz Dresibach

Photo by Michael Stadler

Blown glass art by Fritz Dresibach

3 Bloom Poeticus Narcissus by Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace

Photo by Ann Welch

3 Bloom Poeticus Narcissus by Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace

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