There is something about glass flowers.
The moment you see one you realize the pairing of the two was inevitable.
The medium of glass is so well suited to recreating the fragile, detailed beauty of the flower, which is arguably one of nature’s most glorious and perfect creations. The pairing is so ideal that many glass artists have set their glass flowers in gardens, amidst actual plants, and the result is stunning. It is hard to imagine that the beauty of flowers could be enhanced or amplified – until you see such a display.
Feast your eyes on these 50 images and see if you agree.
Traditional flower glass decorations on Murano island, Italy
Natives of the Italian island of Murano, near Venice, Italy, have been making glass for over a thousand years, and are known today as primarys of the art form. In fact, Murano has become synonymous with the finest, most highly sought after glass creations. Some of the glass blowing and crafting techniques of a millennium ago are still used in Murano today. These exquisite flowers in shades of blue and yellow are examples of the high level of craftsmanship people expect of Murano glass.
Blown glass flowers for sale at the Citadel in Mdina, Malta
When Mdina Glass opened in 1968, it used a blend of traditional techniques and new ones from the “studio glass” movements of the sixties. Since then, Malta’s original glass maker has added lampwork and fusion methods to its repertoire. Today the company specializes in unique glass home décor items – like these red, yellow and white flowers in clear glass vases.
Close-up of glass flowers in the sunlit conservatory at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, Seattle, Washington
Dale Chihuly is probably the best known name in glass flowers today. The renowned artist, who hails from Tacoma, Washington, first studied glass at the University of Wisconsin. As it happened, the program he enrolled in was the first glass program offered by a United States university. Chihuly’s work is featured in more than 200 museums around the world, including this one in his home state, which bears his name.
Blown glass flowers are a passion of Chihuly’s, and one of his favorite ways to display them is in conservatories. The sunlight pouring into the space through the flowers changes their appearance throughout the day. The conservatory at Chihuly Garden, where this 100-foot long sculpture made of red, orange, yellow and amber blooms resides, is known as the Glasshouse. The Glasshouse is 40 feet tall with an area of 4,500 square feet. The sculpture itself is known simply as “Glasshouse Sculpture.”
Stepping back to take in the full grandeur of Chihuly’s Glasshouse Sculpture
This wide angle view of one of Dale Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures shows its massive size and graceful shape. Seattle buildings can be seen in the background.
Transparent glass lily
Combining elements of the real and surreal, this lily replicates the structure of an actual lily to a tee, while retaining the transparency of clear glass.
Transparent glass rose in blue
Unlike the transparent lily, this see-through rose is colored in a way never found in nature. Blown glass flowers in unexpected colors like this can bring a magical feel to an otherwise earthly garden.
Mercury or silvered blown glass lily
Looking like something out of a forest in a science fiction movie, this perfectly formed lily has a metallic sheen that not only reflects light, but gives off multiple shades of blue. One type of blown glass that looks like this is called mercury glass, also known as silvered glass. Invented in Germany in the early 19th century, it was first offered as an inexpensive substitute for silver.
It didn’t really look like silver, though – it was much shinier and more reflective – and briefly fell out of favor for that reason. It soon became popular again and is still sought after today. The technique used for making mercury glass does not involve actual mercury.
Rather, clear glass is mold-blown into a double-walled shape, and a “silvering” agent is then blown in through a small hole in the bottom of the object. The silvering effect can also be achieved by painting with a metallic-looking substance.
Fiori di Como, Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
When Las Vegas’s Bellagio Hotel opened in 1998, people came from far and wide to see it – such was the hype. By far the most impressive part of the structure, in many people’s opinion, was the art that adorned the lobby’s ceiling. Made of 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, in every imaginable color, Dale Chihuly’s Fiori di Como is one of the largest glass sculptures in the world.
It weighs about 40,000 pounds and is 2,100 square feet in area. The hotel commissioned the piece for $10 million, and hosts an average of 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a day who come to the hotel just to see it.
Fiori di Como, translated into English, means simply “Flowers of Como,” Como being a picturesque lakeside town in Italy. It makes sense Chihuly chose an Italian name for his primarypiece – not only because of the hotel’s Italian theme, but also because of the major influence the country has had on him personally.
Throughout his studies, he was exposed to the work of the Italian primarys of blown glass. And in 1968, on a Fullbright scholarship, he spent time at the Venini glass factory in Venice. It was here that Chihuly learned the “team” approach to glass blowing, which remains important to the methods he uses today.
Fiori di Como in a different light: Are those sea creatures or flowers I see?
Chihuly’s sculpture in the Bellagio Hotel is so intricate, so multi-faceted, that people are known to sit beneath it, looking up at it, for hours. Another way to take it in is by walking around underneath it, examining each part of it from different points of view.
Lighting also makes a difference. Viewed at different times throughout the day, the installation takes on different hues, and different features of the sculpture become more apparent. In this shot, the distinct influence of the shapes of sea urchins can be seen in many of the flowers.
Another look at Fiori di Como emphasizes its magnitude
This shot of Fiori di Como brings the sheer number of flowers that comprise the sculpture into focus.
More blown glass beauty at the Bellagio in Las Vegas
As if the Fiori di Como weren’t enough, the Bellagio’s lobby boasts many other gorgeous blown glass floral displays, including the ones shown in this picture.
Stargazer lilies with stems
These hand-blown glass blooms look much heavier than many. The corrugation of both stem and petals is also interesting.
Flame-like blown glass flowers at Atlanta Chihuly exhibit
Renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work appears in permanent collections in more than 30 U.S. states. This particular installation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, Georgia in 2016 happened to be temporary. This was part of Chihuly’s fifteenth garden exhibit. The Atlanta garden always enjoys spikes in visitors and membership when Chihuly’s art is on display, and has made several of the artist’s works permanent parts of their landscape.
Bright colored glass flowers stand out amid real foliage in Atlanta
This shot from Chihuly’s 2016 Atlanta Botanical Garden exhibit shows how stunning glass flowers can be nestled amongst real plants.
Blown glass that looks like it’s about to blow up!
These arresting white beauties created by Chihuly, which were on display in Atlanta in 2016, are unique among the artist’s work in that they don’t feature bright colors.
The stunning detail of Chihuly’s floral sculptures
This close-up of a Chihuly floral sculpture shows the intricate detail of the individual flowers joined together to create it. Note the petals of the tiny, clear glass flowers that surround and overlap the larger, colored ones.
The shape of blown glass flowers on water
A 2014 exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado placed a number of blown glass floral sculptures by Dale Chihuly in water. Here, a flower with snaky green tendrils reflected in a murky pond is made more striking by contrasting purplish glass rods positioned behind it.
Blown glass flowering plant with opulent arms
Another from the 2014 Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, this one features a flowering plant with puffy textured arms that almost look metallic. The dual reflections (off the arms of the plant and the lily pad laden pond) create a dazzling effect.
Flower that looks like an octopus (2014 Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens)
With its many tentacles and pale pink color, this flower resembles a sea creature, which only adds to how perfect it looks atop a body of water.
Lush water flower (2014 Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens)
Different shades of green, along with various textures, give this water flower an abundant appearance.
Blown glass flowers in many colors and patterns
Blown glass flowers come in every color imaginable and can even be speckled, like these. This effect is sometimes achieved through the glass blowing process itself, and sometimes added after the fact with paint.
Tulips in front of blown glass artwork
This medley of cerulean glass and deep pink tulips is a great example of the magic that’s created when blown glass and flowers come together.
Glass lily with hummingbird
This luminescent glass stargazer lily features the addition of a delicate clear glass hummingbird with blue and pink wings.
Hand-blown flower-shaped glass vase
Blown glass flowers can be functional as well as beautiful, as in this five-petaled blown glass vase in hues of blue and brown.
Red blown glass installation at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
This floral sculpture sets hundreds of bright red trumpet-shaped flowers against greenery native to the Seattle, Washington region where it is permanently located.
Blue spirals at Chihuly Garden and Glass
Spiral stalks in various shades of blue, spiky green plants, a large red speckled egg and straighter stalks of orange and red – all made of blown glass – mingle at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle.
Handmade glass pansy
This purple pansy’s petals are edged and streaked with clear glass, creating a spare, elegant flower with just the right amount of color.
Jeju Island Glass Castle Theme Park and Museum
The patch of blue and yellow flowers in the foreground of this picture is just the beginning of what Jeju Island Glass Castle Theme Park and Museum has to offer in the way of blown glass flowers and other glass art. This theme park and museum in South Korea is entirely dedicated to glass art, and features the work of artists from around the world.
Garden at Jeju Glass Castle
Like so many venues that display glass art, the Glass Castle in Jeju, South Korea sets much of its art amid real flowers and trees, and water. Can you tell which features of the landscape are made of glass?
Glass flowers and pumpkins strewn about the garden in Jeju, South Korea
Glass flowers and pumpkins in various shades of the complementary colors orange and blue mingle with greenery, pottery and fountains outside this Jeju, South Korea museum dedicated entirely to art made of glass.
Close-up of glass flowers on an 18th century Murano glass Venetian chandelier
Flowers are the theme of this extraordinary antique chandelier made of Murano glass. Details include tiny carnations and tulips in different colors.
Murano glass flowers on a rustic bridge in Italy
These beautiful blown glass lilies in blues and yellows are made in Murano using traditional techniques.
“Reflections on Nature” in London, 2019
This glass sculpture resembling a giant blue and white dandelion was just one of many floral sculptures on display at a 2019 exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s blown glass work at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. The gardens, a UNESCO world heritage site, made an ideal backdrop for the artist’s large-scale, nature-inspired works.
Night view of hand-blown glass floral sculpture
This shot of a sculpture at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle, Washington shows the flower, basket and “seaforms” motifs found in so much of Dale Chihuly blown glass artwork.
Blown glass sculpture evoking the beautiful chaos of a wild flower garden
This sculpture by Chihuly, also at Garden and Glass, brings to light another familiar theme in the artist’s work: the abundance of nature. Many of Chihuly’s works feature large collections of flowers.
Huge bouquet with butterfly
Every flower in this rich array is made of blown glass, as is the butterfly in the upper left-hand corner.
A sea of tulips in blue and purple
A large quantity of blown glass flowers, all of the same type, produces an effect that is different, but no less stunning, than a varied bouquet.
Blown glass flowers in many colors amidst trees
In this forest outside Jeju Glass Castle in South Korea, wild flowers made of glass, in blue, yellow and red, mingle with dried leaves fallen from real trees. Even the deer in this other-worldly display are made of glass.
Red and orange blown glass flowers
These large star-shaped flowers on iron stalks are an example of the many blown glass flowers made expressly for planting in gardens as accents amidst other plants. They are also ideally suited to standing outside the front door, next to the mailbox, or in groups on the lawn as a whimsical decoration.
Close-up of blown glass floral sculpture
Close up, a tiny portion of a famous blown glass sculpture looks like brilliantly colored abstract art.
Blown glass flowers in many colors decorate a home garden
Adding a few (or many) blown glass flowers to your garden is charming and unexpected. Nestling them amongst some rocks helps incorporate them into the “real” elements of the garden.
Simple Murano glass flower
This simple blue flower, made using traditional methods, is the epitome of elegance and the artistry for which Murano is known.
Phoenix Sunrise hand blown glass flower
The name of this spiky wonder is “Phoenix Sunrise.” Bet you can guess the artist who made it! (Hint: his first name is Dale.)
Flowers on the ceiling
Blown glass flowers are at their most beautiful when light flows through them. These simple yellow, red and orange flowers decorate the ceiling of a glass atrium.
Mexican glass artwork
This blue and clear glass rose, with a realistic-looking green stem, was made in Mexico.
Close-up of stunning violet blown glass rose
This picture brings into focus what makes blown glass flowers so special. In the hands of a skilled craftsperson, a glass petal can become as delicate as a real one, and the design of a glass flower as miraculously beautiful as that of a bloom found in nature.
Chihuly flowers on display at the New York Botanical Garden
In 2017, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx played host to an exhibit of Chihuly’s glass sculptures. Here visitors stop to admire basket-like flowers emerging joyfully from a small pond. The orange, blue and yellow flowers pop against the thick greenery that surrounds the display.
Glass flowers dripping with color
This image, evocative of a watercolor painting, shows the stunning detail and complex colorfulness of many blown glass flowers.
Imagine the time and care it must have taken to make this detailed replica of a flower, from calyx to stamen to pistil to petals.
Iridescent blown glass flowers
Thanks to an abundance of glass blowing and painting techniques, glass flowers can look like they’re made out of just about anything! These look iridescent when a little light is shone on them against a black backdrop.