Nature in Glass Logo

May 31 through August 31
Arboretum Grounds
8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
Free with gate admission

Green ManThe Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is proud to announce its 2014 summer exhibition: "Nature in Glass: The Wonders of Craig Mitchell Smith," comprising 32 unique and stunning glass sculptures that will adorn Arboretum outdoor gardens and collections.

Each large iridescent, fused-glass sculpture will be a masterpiece, created and specifically designed by the artist for the Arboretum's unique outdoor setting.

"The Arboretum is delighted to host the imaginative artistry of Craig Mitchell Smith this summer in our gardens. His work will showcase and complement the beauty of our plants and landscape and the gifts of nature," said Ed Schneider, Arboretum director.

Sculptures and Their Locations:

Star of Minnesota. This 6-foot, striking glass star adorned the Arboretum Poinsettia Tree and will reappear in the "Nature in Glass" exhibit, at a location yet to be determined.
Gravity. 15 unique glass human figures rising from the Karl Forster Ornamental Grasses in front of the Oswald Visitor Center.
Road to Provence. 30 glass sunflowers gracing the Spiegel Entry Garden at the Snyder Building.
The Golden Chain Tndetree. An ornate glass tree. Location to be determined (TBD).
Big Fish #1 & Big Fish #2. Glass and copper koi sculptures at the Japanese Garden.
Making a Wish. A 16-ft. tall dandelion puff in the Herb Garden.
The Lilac Mr. Lincoln. Ornamental lilac sculpture in the Peony Walk area.
Crepe Myrtle. 14-ft. tall red glass creation near the Margot Picnic Shelters.
Weeping Willow. Hundreds of glass willow leaves cascading into the Woodland Azalea Waterfall Pond.
The Hydrangea. (Pictured on home page, photo by Kate Katje) Blue hydrangea sculpture in the Home Demo Gardens.
Grape Arbor. Metallic vines teeming with gorgeous glass grapes. Cloister Garden.
Potted Geranium. Red glass geranium with green leaves. Location to be determined.
Blue Star Rising. Blue and purple glass blazing star on a stainless steel frame. Sensory Garden Shelter.
Fireball. Fire-colored glass flames around a stainless steel orb. Waterfall behind Snyder Building.
Poppies of Oz. Thirty large orange, red and yellow glass poppies planned for the Annual Garden.
Water Garden. Glass lotus, koi and water lilies in Arboretum entrance pond.
Rose Blossom. Single yellow glass rose with stainless steel leaves. Wilson Rose Garden.
Birdsnest Spruce. Fifteen sky-blue bird's nests in a Birdsnest Spruce. Dwarf Conifer Collection.
Bonsai Tree. Green glass bonsai sculpture. Japanese Garden.
The Green Man. (Pictured above) Mythic face created from jade green glass on steel stand. Location to be determined.
October Gust. A swirl of autumn glass leaves and stainless steel branches. Location TBD.
Flight of the Monarch. An ascending swarm of large monarch butterflies reach to the sky. Location TBD.
Hosta Dreams of Flight. Glass and steel depicting hosta leaves blowing in the wind. Hosta Glade.
Japanese Iris. Pristine and lovely glass irises emerge from the Iris Pond.
The Loon. Our state bird, in black and white glass, rises from the Iris Pond.
Apple Blossom. Glass on metal frame. Location TBD.
Wisteria. A glass depiction of the U of M "Summer Cascade" wisteria introduction. Location TBD.
Wavecrest. A 6-ft. cresting wave, appropriate for the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Location TBD.
Tropical Splendor. Exquisite bird of paradise plant surrounded by croton leaves. Location TBD.
Question of Balance. Larger-than-life human figure balancing on a tightrope, umbrella in hand. Great Hall of the Oswald Visitor Center.
Hollyhocks. Three tall violet-hued glass hollyhocks (measuring from 11 to 14 feet in height).  Location TBD.

Presenting Sponsor:

Wells Fargo logo

With support from:

Wagners logo tamron logo Pentair logo Emerson logo

Jackie Smith and Emma Jean Kydd & family


To see a tour of the sculptures with narration by the artist, click here.

Craig Mitchell Smith with Lilac

Craig Mitchell Smith has exhibited his glass artwork at botanic gardens and attractions around the country, including Disney's Epcot Center, Norfolk Botanical Garden and Dow Gardens. Prior to the May 31 opening at the Arboretum, his work was displayed at Chicago's Navy Pier in March.

Smith's sculptural technique involves cutting colorful sheets of glass in the shapes of brushstrokes and using a kiln as a canvas, similar to the style of a painter creating with paint. He lays out shards of glass like paint on a canvas and fires these pieces until they melt and fuse into a desired form.

Smith's artistic journey has been filled with interesting detours. "As a self-taught artist, my curiosity and creativity have taken me in many directions over the years. I am a painter. I have done interior and garden design throughout the United States, set design for local theaters, and floral design," says Smith, who resides in Michigan. "I have designed weddings throughout the United States and in England. In late 2005, I found glass. I started by making glass jewelry. Soon, however, I felt limited by the size and dimension.

"I moved quickly to glass sculpture because I liked the freedom of expression and scale. In my kiln, I draw with hundreds of pieces of hand cut glass, and fire them into fused forms. Then, I re-fire these forms over broken shards of pottery or custom-built stainless steel forms. For those based on precise designs, I control the dimensions very closely. For the organic shapes, I take the free-form pieces of glass in my hands and feel how they want to be together," he continues. The glass components are then fastened into place to create a one-of-a-kind artwork.