Title: Navajo Blanket Basket
Medium" Blown Glass
Size: 6.5" x 6"
The extremely important navajo blanket series. In 1979 Chihuly builds a glass shop for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Supported by a National Endowment for the Arts grant at Pilchuck, James Carpenter, a group of students, and he develop a technique for picking up glass thread drawings. In December at RISD, he completes his last collaborative project with Carpenter, “Corning Wall.” In 1975 this technique would evolve into the Navajo Blanket Series.
1979-1981 proved to be some very busy years for Chihuly Dislocates his shoulder in a bodysurfing accident and relinquishes the gaffer position for good. William Morris becomes his chief gaffer for the next several years. Chihuly begins to make drawings as a way to communicate his designs. Together with Morris, Benjamin Moore, and student assistants Michael Scheiner and Rich Royal, he blows glass in Baden, Austria.
Resigns his teaching position at RISD. He returns there periodically during the 1980s as artist-in-residence. Begins “Seaform” series at Pilchuck in the summer and later, back in Providence, returns to architectural installations with the creation of windows for the Shaare Emeth Synagogue in St. Louis, Missouri. Purchases his first building, the Boathouse, in Pawtuxet Cove, Rhode Island, for his residence and studio.
Begins “Macchia” series, using up to three hundred colors of glass. These wildly spotted, brightly colored forms are dubbed “the uglies” by his mother, but they are eventually christened “Macchia,” Italian for “spotted,” by his friend Italo Scanga.