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Desert Botanical Garden: Chihuly, Part 6

Chihuly must like his reeds, these are "Neodymium Reeds". In fact, the artist states, "In Finland we started making these long, cylindrical pieces that looked like spears. This was an exciting new form. It was the first time we ever made anything like that. Sometimes I call them spears and sometimes I call them reeds. They can be taken anywhere — they can go outside. They are very strong pieces, and they are very dramatic."

They really do fit nicely among the various forms of desert vegetation.

At night, they take on a whole new glow — a purple glow. I try to be very careful with white balance and these photos do reflect my memory of what I saw. It is so interesting that the same items would look so different at night.

A bit of science here thanks to Wikipedia — "Neodymium is a chemical element with the symbol Nd and atomic number 60." And, "Neodymium compounds were first commercially used as glass dyes in 1927, and they remain a popular additive in glasses. The color of neodymium compounds—due to the Nd3+ ion—is often a reddish-purple but it changes with the type of lighting, due to fluorescent effects."

And now we know.

In one of the settings, there was a whole forest of reeds that struck me as incredibly dramatic.

This is the "Citron and Yellow Fiori". They seemed to fit perfectly in a part of the garden displaying smaller cacti but with their own set of curves.

Illuminated at night, the glass pieces seem to come to life, almost as if they were dancing.

Next up are the "Yellow Herons". Herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds such as Egrets. I can see that.

Even at night they appear to be actively fishing for dinner or dancing or whatever Herons due after dark to amuse themselves.

This close-up shows the incredible detailing that goes into every piece of glass in a Chihuly artistic creation.

Reeds, reeds and more reeds — these are "Black and White Reeds". They seem to be swaying in a strong gust of wind — although I could not feel it physically, it was there artistically.

At night they even take on another color — notice the red streaks that join the black and white strands.

Practically invisible during the day, Chihuly placed a collection of neon abstractions called "Desert Neon" — which seem to float above the garden since they are visible from nearly everywhere.

But all good things must end and in mid-May the exhibition was concluded. I happened to discover a video of Chihuly's workers removing exhibit pieces and packing them for shipment. The photo to the right is a screen capture of that video. Click here to view the short video in its entirety.

It is sad to see it go but I suspect there will be another Chihuly exhibition in the not-too-distant future.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com