Chihuly Workshop tells story of historic boathouse with UW ties

More than 30 years ago, Dale Chihuly, ’65, the artist and collector, bought an old warehouse on the north shore of Lake Union to use as his studio and, for a time, his home. Now with the help of his wife Leslie Jackson Chihuly, ’93, historian David B. Williams, and author and glass art expert David Warmus, the Chihuly Workshop has produced the photo-rich book, “The Boathouse: The Artist’s Studio of Dale Chihuly,” to tell the story of the building and its many uses.

Before Chihuly came along, the site and structure had lots of meaning for the UW community. It sits along shoreline that the Washington state Legislature platted and sold to finance the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition, which took place in 1909 on the yet-to-be developed UW campus. In 1963, with ramshackle houseboats housing UW graduate students nearby, George Pocock, the famed racing shell designer who built boats for the Husky crews for 40 years, moved in.

According to the book, Chihuly could have razed the boathouse to build his glass-blowing studio, but he wanted to keep the character-filled structure with its rich history and connection to the local nautical scene.

Photo by Russell Johnson, 1983