He continued to blow glass himself even after a car accident left him blind in one eye. He was injured by his pet material when he flew through the car windshield. Years later a shoulder injury left him unable to manage the equipment and he had to hire assistants. This stepping back, getting a view of the big picture turned out favorably for the artist as the complexity and grandeur of his pieces grew.
Chihuly's style developed a maximalist revelry in both shape and color. His fantastical and organic pieces like plants lured from a Doctor Seuss book were allowed to grow huge and bulbous. And with this scale came a change from individual blown pieces to the creation of a community of glass pieces. This sense of collective shape, of cumulative color, of superorganism, all expand glass from the one off individuals of utilitarian or even craft focused glass into the wider art conversation.
Chihuly shows us that individual, distinct colors or shapes, can be dropped in favor of environments of objects and gradients of colors. We experience color and shape not as separate from their location but as locations themselves. His work shows us that when we think about color it can be in three dimensional surround sound. Sometimes abandon leads to our greatest creative breakthroughs.