This morning, Nate and I got up early and had plans to enjoy the day out at the Arboretum in Chanhassen. Each summer we make sure to get out there at least once to see all the gorgeous flowers, plants and trees, and to get some ideas for our own landscaping projects. The arboretum always has a theme going on throughout their many gardens. This year’s theme is…”Nature in Glass: The Wonders of Craig Mitchell Smith,” comprising 32 unique and stunning glass sculptures. We weren’t sure what this was until we came across our first sculpture. Wow, were we impressed.
When I got home, I wanted to learn a little more about this artist and his sculptures because they were so neat and detailed, that Nate and I couldn’t understand how he makes them. His name is Craig Mitchell Smith and 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.
He says…”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.”
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. If you ever have a chance to see his work, we would highly recommend it. Very interesting, unique, and just gorgeous to look at. Amazing! There were 32 sculptures out here, but we only found 21 of them. Here are a few of my favorites. Remember….these are all made out of glass!
Amongst all of these gorgeous glass sculptures, were of course, the beautiful flowers. Nate and I just took it all in and enjoyed walking for a couple of hours through these gardens. One of my favorite gardens to relax in, is the Japanese garden. It has the wonderful sound of the waterfalls and we love looking at the way everything is cut perfectly and all around you is just green, green, green! It’s the perfect setting to bring you book, sit on a bench and enjoy the afternoon.
When you leave the Japanese garden, it leads you into the shade garden, also known as the hosta gardens. They have so many varieties of hostas in here and every inch is covered. We found this neat one that I thought was unique because it has texture and pattern to its leaves. We also found another glass sculpture buried amongst the real ones.
There were a three water sculptures out here as well. One was in the Japanese Garden, near the waterfall. Another was actually in the water fountain, and third was in another waterfall, near the entrance.
Nate’s favorite flowers are the coneflowers. He has planted some out in our backyard years ago and they add nice color out back which we enjoy while sitting on our deck. Of course, the ones out at the arboretum seem to be doing better than ours this year and have deeper, richer colors. They also have butterflies! This is one of my favorite pictures of the day. It’s not easy getting a butterfly to sit still and not flap it’s wings. He was very patient with me. 🙂
Some other flowers that I captured today were just as pretty. We had such a perfect day for taking pictures because it was a little overcast and all of the flowers just seemed to “glow” today.
As we finished our walking tour, we saw this amazingly large sculpture hanging up over one of the gardens. I can’t imagine how scary this was to transport and hang from this rafter. I bet everyone had a huge sigh of relief when it was safely up there.
Nate and I really enjoyed our date at the arboretum today. We will have to bring the girls back out here this fall to take in the fall colors of Minnesota.