Our Love Affair With Glass: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Somewhere there must be a frequent-movers manual that says: 

“Do not fall in love with glass! It’s fragile, heavy, and while very attractive, in the end it will make your life more difficult.” 

Of course, we didn’t heed this advice, and gave ourselves a stern lecture after each move. But despite all this, we still love glass. It’s always been a part of our home, and whether it’s a stained glass panel, Murano sculpture, Lalique vase, or a knockoff Chihuly, we’ve loved every piece. 

In our many rounds of simplifying and downsizing, this breakable booty is always on the cut list, but we still find ourselves attracted to it. And when we’re shopping or on the road, a strict don’t-touch, don’t-buy policy is in place. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t look. 

So join us for the next few weeks and we’ll give you a look at some of our favorite glass. We’ll have lots of eye candy compliments of Dale Chihuly, as well as a bit of history with Caesar and his boys. We promise not to make you glassy-eyed so we hope you’ll come along. 

Happy Trails, James & Terri

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

42 thoughts

  1. Glass is gorgeous and I love Dale Chihuly´s work. So I am looking forward to your future posts. I am the same with pottery which I have been collecting for years. My daughter is a potter as well so you can imagine I have a lot of her work in my house. Not quite as difficult to move as glass but still breakable.

    1. Darlene, some years ago I pursued pottery as a hobby for a few years as well, which definitely fits into the heavy, not-smart-for-moving category also. My poor family were the recipients of most of my pieces, and my sister had the best line. I made a water dish for her dog and she said it was “hurricane-proof,” as in, it wouldn’t blow away in a hurricane. Most of my pottery fit into the paper weight category – a far reach from Chihuly’s delicate art. ~James

  2. Looking forward to it, James. We can never resist a Chihuly exhibit. Last time our grandkids were here in the fall, we took them to a glassblowing shop where they were able to make their own Christmas decorations. Some fun. –Curt

    1. Curt, we’re suckers for Chihuly’s exhibits. He has truly achieved global notoriety, and deservedly so. We’ve seen his work all over the world and it’s always a pleasure. The Maker’s Mark Bourbon Distillery near Lexington had an extensive collection of his work in the warehouses and in the grounds surrounding the historic property and it was fabulous. We have so many photos of his collection that we’re going to have to spread it over a few posts. A talented artist. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Betty and for dropping by the blog. When we lived in New Orleans we also took a few stained glass classes, and they were good fun. We were never very good, but it was a rewarding hobby that yielded some colorful art for our historic shotgun apartment. It also helped that most of our projects could be done on our dining table. ~James

    1. Shelley, we haven’t seen it, but our plan is to get back on the road in the spring, and Northern Ohio is always a good escape from the bugs and heat in the south. Thanks for the heads up. ~James

    1. Apart from it’s function, we attach lots of symbolic meaning to many glass items, so it seems appropriate that mementos from friends who have passed would be pleasant reminders of their lives. ~James

      1. We usually travel with only carryon so it has to be small. I made the mistake once of buying some jade lions when we were in Xian, China. Although they were very small I had to carry them for a month throughout the whole trip. Still glad I bought them.

  3. We love our colorful glass collection. Always have one window with my grandmother’s crackled glass vases and a container of marbles. So cheery when the sunlight streams through! Have also added prisms so I get lots of rainbows on the wall. Never giving this up! Looking forward to your glass posts!

    1. Pam, sunny Florida is the place for glass vases and prisms that’s for sure. I love prisms in windows, but our neighborhood has lots of huge trees, so don’t get the color rainbows that I have in the past. I really love the trees, but I do miss the prisms. ~James

  4. Looking forward to more “glass” posts, because we, too, love glass. On the subject of Chihuly, we found the ceiling installation in the Bellagio (Las Vegas) absolutely remarkable for color, content, and unique installation. Also, close to us, Biltmore House in Asheville held a several-month display of Chihuly glass pieces (huge ones generally) in the outdoor areas and some of the rooms in the house. Totally amazing. I believe the display is now in Nashville at Cheekwood. If you haven’t seen it, we can recommend a road trip just for this display if nothing else. Thanks for always bringing topics of interest to us!

    1. Rusha, after a long walk down the strip, we sat on a bench right under that Chihuly ceiling in the Bellagio and had lots of time to rest and admire the incredible color and shapes that is his signature. As I remember, it was also a golden people-watching opportunity as the soon-to-be-fleeced gamblers queued to check into their hotel rooms.

      We’ve seen Chihuly all over the world, and I have to say that I never tire of seeing his work. He’s a unique and exceptional artist. ~James

  5. This summer we saw Chihuly exhibits in Columbus, Ohio and St. Petersburg, Florida. Just marvelous. Glass doesn’t travel well in soft luggage but I must admit I’ve made exceptions for glass from Ireland, Scotland and the bourbon trail.

    1. Steve, we visited the Chihuly collection in St Pete, and in fact, our next post will highlight the exhibit. Also, the Maker’s Mark distillery had a Chihuly show in their bourbon rickhouses and on the grounds, and it was wonderful. We took so many photos that it will have to be a later post. And Yep, soft side luggage puts a damper on lots of fragile road souvenirs. ~James

  6. I’m actually switching back to glass. It doesn’t cloud over like clear plastic does. It doesn’t scratch as easily. It’s heavier–an issue for olders–but I’ll work around that.

    1. Jacqui, there are lots of reasons glass has been popular for millennia, and one of them is practicality. Given all its downsides and disadvantages, it’s hard to imagine our lives without it. ~James

  7. Look forward to the glass posts. For ya we gave a weakness for ceramics and have been known to buy 2 handmade Cups in France and 2 handmade cups in Japan and have to wrap them oh so carefully and carry them in our hand luggage … on the plus side they definitely lighter than glass pieces AND we really enjoy drinking out of them now!


    1. Peta, as you know, it’s all about priorities. If you’re like me, the daily coffee/tea ritual is important enough to devote a bit of energy to it, and if this means a special, hand-carried around the world cup then so be it. Who would want to be logical about everything? ~James

  8. You had me at Chihuly! Did you have a chance to see his outstanding exhibit in Jerusalem’s Old City? I was blessed to be visiting family at the time, and it was at the very TOP of my priorities for my visit. We visited at sunset, so by the time darkness fell.. well: Jaw-dropping. Love Murano glass too, and a few choice pieces that my late grandmother saved and brought over from the motherland (Romania, in her case). Stay safe, T & J!

    1. Amit, no we haven’t seen that exhibit, but in an important location like Jerusalem I can imagine that it was fabulous. Chihuly never disappoints. We’ve seen his works in lots of different venues and somehow it always seems to complement and enhance the location. There was an exhibit at a famous whiskey distillery near our home that was wonderful. It was primarily outdoors in the garden and surrounding the historic buildings which seemed to be exactly the right combination of abstract art and natural color. Very cool. ~James

    1. Thanks for the links Kathy. Both the museum glass collection as well as the Art Nouveau buildings are attractive. We’ve never been to Nancy, but it looks like a wonderful stop. As you may remember from previous posts we’re big fans of Art Nouveau architecture, and artists at the time were doing some very interesting things with glassware. ~James

  9. We love glass – especially Alie – and not committed to minimalism like you, we have a particular problem. But a general desire to get rid of “stuff” has helped as did a recent move to Ohio. We were pleased to find the Franklin Park Conservatory has a great Chihuly collection. They show off all this wonderful glass and all we have to do is visit!
    We look forward to your posts.

    1. Ray, I’ve never heard of this place or the Chihuly exhibit there, but I checked out the website, and the conservatory seems like a perfect place to display colorful glass. The conservatory building is outstanding and would be well worth the trip. It’s a classic design like I’ve seen in a number if cities in Europe, and it must be a wonderful respite on a cold winter day. Thanks for the heads up. ~James

  10. Now that’s a beautiful collection – a perfect taste of what’s to come? Lovely! I’m not familiar with any of those names, but I adore glass sculptures as well and first fell in love with them during a visit to Venice when I was seventeen. 🙂

  11. Looking forward to this series. We visited Murano several years again and got to watch one of their craftsmen ply his trade. In no time at all, he made a lovely glass horse. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. I still have the pictures. Living in Waldo makes glass a big no no! No fancy wine glasses for me or decorative do-dads!

    1. Laura, years ago a good friend of ours brought us a very impressive Murano piece back from Italy. It was a wonderful gift, and if you saw how heavy and fragile it was, you’d instantly know just how good a friend he was. Like you and Steve, with all our downsizing and moving around we’ve cut most of our fancy glass art and tchotchkes from our possessions list. But we still miss some of them. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment Parker and for dropping by the blog. A properly packed box: that says it all when it comes to art glass. We’ve moved many times, and fortunately, never had a major break. ~James

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