Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington, where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. He enrolled at the College of the Puget Sound in 1959. A year later, he transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle, where in 1965 he received a bachelor of arts degree in interior design In the year 1967, he received a Master of Science in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he studied under Harvey Littleton. In 1968, he studied glass in Venice on a Fulbright Fellowship and received a Master of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1976, while Chihuly was in England, he was involved in a head-on car accident during which he flew through the windshield. His face was severely cut by glass and he was blinded in his left eye. After recovering, he continued to blow glass until he dislocated his right shoulder in a 1979 bodysurfing accident. No longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe, he hired others to do the work. Chihuly explained the change in a 2006 interview, saying "Once I stepped back, I liked the view" and pointing out that it allowed him to see the work from more perspectives and enabled him to anticipate problems faster. Chihuly describes his role as "more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, more director than actor.