During the late 1980s and early 90s Chihuly's American team, headed by Lino Tagliapietra and later Richard Royal, extended the vocabulary of the Venetians to include vessels with solid, hot-worked glass putti created by Pino Signoretto from Murano. The historical allusion is to the grandeur of Venetian Baroque. The Nijima floats, on the other hand, point to Japan. These large spheres are named for the Japanese fishing floats Chihuly found as a child on the shores of Puget Sound - as well as the glass school on a small island of Tokyo Bay.
Red reed installation 1999 Installation, (Detail) blown glass 99 reeds
Collection of the artist
Dale Chihuly Nijima float project 1997 Photograph: Shaun Chappe

This expansion of forms also saw the beginning of the organic Chandeliers and the giant Stoppers; both series exist in extraordinary variations. With a wealth of shapes, the obsessively ornamental Chandeliers can weigh up to 800kg. In this exhibition, instead of the confections of fantasy creatures usually found, the Stoppers combine putti and Australian birds.

As well as glassblowers, Chihuly works with a large, very professional group of assistants who are responsible for the installation, technical and engineering requirements of his complex works. In this way his approach as a facilitator is a natural extension of his collaborative work. With his Seattle team, Chihuly's projects have become experiments in international collaboration.

In 1995-96 Chihuly led his team to Finland, Ireland, Mexico and Venice - all places famous for their glass. Chihuly over Venice was organised to coincide with the first biennale of contemporary glass, Venezia Aperto Vetro, and saw fourteen trademark Chihuly Chandeliers installed across the city.

One of Chihuly's most ambitious installations Chihuly: In the Light of Jerusalem 2000 opened recently, and includes a 10-metre tall pink Crystal mountain. Equally phenomenal projects are planned for the new millennium.

Citron green tower with red infusion 1998 blown glass, from Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan Photograph: Studio ASK
Torchiere installation 1997
blown glass Collection of the artist