Craig Mitchell Smith: Developing His Own Style

Featured Artists

How did you get started in glass?  I got started in glass by taking a glass class at Delphi in the winter of 2005.   I was hooked!   I just couldn't stop, I was making glass with a friend who had a ceramic kiln when HGTV offered to come film my work in glass.   I had nine weeks to prepare, and I went to Delphi and bought a coffin kiln and glass and went to work, making pieces that made sense for my garden.   Only after the segment aired, and galleries started calling offering representation did I consider glass as a career.   Now I have had 26 gallery shows, three museum showings and three large public garden exhibitions.   I just opened my own gallery.

You mentioned in the biography on your website that you have done painting, interior design, set design and floral design. How have these activities influenced your work in glass? My background in painting, interior design, landscape design and floral have all come together in my glass work.

Why glass sculpture?  I make sculpture because I need the scale and dimension to express myself.   I often work with other artists to make the metal work I need, I design the metal with other artists, and have them custom fabricated.

Who’s work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire? When I started working in glass, I very deliberately chose not to even look at any other glass artists work.   I wanted to develop my own style, and not borrow from anyone, we all learn from each other, and I am most influenced by the artists Andy Goldsworthy and Joseph Cornell.   I want my work to be of the place, not just in a place.

Over the summer, you exhibited at the MSU Horticulture Gardens. How do you go about preparing for an outdoor exhibit like that one? This summer I did an exhibition at MSU Horticulture Gardens, a huge show, with 30 distinct pieces for a two-day show.   This took months of preparation, many trips to the garden and a fine crew to install.   It paid off, with attendance of 3,500 and strong sales.   It is a lot of work, but very gratifying.

On your website, you have a section titled “Personal Favorites.” What makes these special to you? The personal favorites on my website are just that, the pieces that speak most to me, I am not a populist, some of my work is deeply personal and are not meant for everyone.   Some pieces I will never exhibit publicly, they are "poetry for the sock drawer." (Photo at right entitled "Wings of Desire" is one of Craig's favorites.)

What are some other upcoming exhibits/shows that you are excited about? I am working on ornaments (see photo at left) for the National Christmas tree in Washington and am very excited to go to the tree lighting ceremony in December.

Anything else you’d like to mention? I spent the first 42 years of my life not knowing what I really wanted to do, going from career to career.   I now see I was just waiting for Glass.

Learn more about Craig Mitchell Smith and upcoming events on his website.


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