Irish Cylinders by Dale Chihuly and Seaver Leslie with glass drawings by Flora C. Mace - from the George R. Stroemple Collection

October 26, 2013 - September 2014

visitAmong the earliest series of Chihuly's oeuvre are the little-known, legendary Irish Cylinders, created in 1975 at the Rhode Island School of Design, begun on St. Patrick's Day and completed over Thanksgiving weekend. The 44 vessels, loosely categorized as St. Patrick's Day Cylinders, Irish Cylinders and the Ulysses Cylinders, were inspired by James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses.

Minty and milky, the Irish Cylinders feature glass-drawing pick-up techniques similar to Chihuly's more abstract Blanket Cylinders. The earliest of the series feature shamrocks, Irish flags, mapping diagrams of cairns and burial mounds and the Irish landscape. Later Cylinders explore themes pertinent to a recounting of occurrences from a single day in Dublin as described in Ulysses: the protagonist, Leopold Bloom; his wife's suitor, Blazes Boylan and the date Thursday, June 16, 1904. Created by Chihuly, the drawings on the Irish Cylinders were made by Kate Elliott, Seaver Leslie and Flora C. Mace. Chihuly depicted Joyce himself on several of the Cylinders (#30 and #31).

“We are incredibly honored to have the opportunity to share these important works from the history of the Studio Glass Movement at Museum of Glass,” notes Susan Warner, executive director of Museum of Glass. “The pioneering techniques coupled with the depth of artistry exhibited in this series are a glimpse of what was to come for Dale Chihuly and the artists with whom he collaborated.”

The series was briefly exhibited at the Benson Gallery in Bridehampton, New York in the summer of 1976, but then placed in storage. The complete series of Irish Cylinders has been previously exhibited at the Portland Art Museum in 1997. The Stromple Collection now numbers more than five hundred objects and is the largest single holding of Chihuly’s work.

Image credit:
Dale Chihuly, (American, born 1941). Irish Cylinder #2, 1975. Glass; 10" x 7". Courtesy of the George R. Stroemple Collection, A Stroemple/Stireck Collaboration.

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