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West Bloomfield's Planterra to Host Glass Art Exhibit

Self-taught, Okemos-based artist Craig Mitchell Smith creates glass sculptures inspired by nature.

is teaming up Okemos-based artist Craig Mitchell Smith to offer an opportunity of building a garden with kiln glass art.

A monthlong exhibit opening Jul. 20-Aug. 20 will feature what Smith refers to as "botanical glass" — glass art designed to mirror various flowers species — which he says will not die when cold weather hits, as real flowers do.

It's a natural fit for the conservatory's summer season, said Planterra President Shane Pliska, inviting residents to see them even without any intention of purchasing a piece.

(If in fact you are interested, expect to pay between a few hundred dollars to $10,000.)

"They're priced at different levels in order to give those coming a chance to purchase a number of different works, but we hope families come just as an activity. It's fun just to stroll around and it's especially beautiful given the conservatory setting, with light everywhere," Pliska said. 

Smith has done the work since 2005 using a self-taught technique cultivated by his background as a painter. He said that he's often surprised to hear from buyers that they display the work indoors.

"People tell me that they don't spend enough time in their garden, but they want to see it," Smith said. "It's quite funny to me sometimes that when I create something I see as looking good inside, that others see it differently."

Smith notes that the art is not suspectible to damage from freezing in that it holds no water. Pliska recommends that those interested in purchasing should consider displaying the art in a similar environment to that of a specimen plant.

"They're focal points," Pliska points out. "You're bound to have friends and visitors want to know more about it, so you'll want to let them see it well."

Need to know

  • Opening reception: The opening reception is scheduled Jul. 20 from 6-8 p.m. RSVP is required to ewood@planterra.com.
  • General public viewing: Goes from Saturday, Jul. 21-Monday, Aug. 20. M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 
  • Where: , 7315 Drake Rd.
  • Price: The exhibition is free of charge. 

Visit botanicalglass.org for ticketing and more information.

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