Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma Washington, in 1941. He received his M.S. in sculpture in 1967 from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied glassblowing with Harvey Littleton. In 1969 he established the Glass Department at the Rhode Island School of Design where he taught until 1983.
In 1983 Chihuly returned to his native Pacific Northwest where he continued to develop his own work at the Pilchuck Glass School, which he had helped to found in 1971. Throughout the 1970's, influenced by the great glassblowing tradition of Murano, Chihuly experimented with the team approach to glassblowing. Working with t team of master glassblowers and assistants has enabled him to produce works in glass of a scale and quantity unimaginable working alone or with only one assistant.
After an automobile accident in 1976 in which he lost the sight in his left eye, Chihuly relinquished the gaffer (chief glassblower) position and turned over that position to
William Morris. Utilizing Morris' substantial talent and physical strength, Chihuly developed the large scale, multi-colored forms known as the Macchia series (Italian for "spotted.")
In the early 1980's, Chihuly and Morris worked extensively on the Seaform series, undulating shell-like forms, within forms. They also began the Soft Cylinder series, which combined elements of the earlier Basket and Cylinder series. In 1986, Chihuly developed the new Persian series with former R.I.S.D. student Martin Blank as gaffer. In 1988, he began the highly ornate Venetian series with master Italian glassblower Lino Tagliapietra as gaffer.
In the 1990's, while continuing to work intermittently on his previous series, Chihuly has turned his creative energies more and more towards large-scale architectural installations for homes and public spaces. Particularly dramatic are his glass Chandeliers which gained international acclaim in 1996, when his two-year project "Chihuly Over Venice" culminated with the hanging of fourteen Chandeliers at various sites in Venice. Most recently a hybrid of the Chandelier series has appeared in the form of wall sconces.
Dale Chihuly is now widely recognized as the world's premier glass artist and has been the subject of many books, critical essays and PBS specials. His works can be found in over 150 major museums, including the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Louvre, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Whitney Museum.