Chilhuly took an Art Degree from
University of Washington at Seattle, where he studied interior design, architecture and glassblowing.
Chihuly's work Inside and Out belongs to the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1967, he received a Masters of Science in glassblowing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied under Harvey Littleton.** In 1968, he received a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he later helped establish the school's glass program. In that year, he also received a Fulbright Fellowship, and went on to become the first American glassblower to work in the prestigious Venini Fabrica on the island of Murano. Along with several other glass artists, and with the support of John Hauberg and Anne Gould Hauberg, Chihuly founded the influential Pilchuck Glass School in 1971 in Stanwood, Washington.
Chihuly lives and works in his 25,000 square foot (2300 ) studio, nicknamed "The Boathouse" for its former use, on Lake Union. Since losing the vision in one of his eyes in an automobile accident in 1976, Chihuly (who wears an eyepatch) no longer has the depth perception necessary to handle the molten glass himself. Instead, he conceptualizes each project with paint and canvas and then employs a team of artists to do the work. The documentary Chihuly Over Venice became the first HDTV program to be broadcast in the United States when it aired in November 1998. In 1991, Chihuly began his Niijima Floats Series, some of the largest blown glass pieces in the world, at the Niijima International Glass Art Festival in Japan.