Michael Tonder’s innovative glass sculptures evoke the behavior of waters along the North shore of Lake Superior, near his longtime home at Two Harbors, MN.
The self-taught artist’s signature material is recycled plate glass. To form his work, he hand-cuts individual elements of each piece from the flat glass sheets then assembles them before fusing in an electric kiln. The work is then carved and sandblasted with attention to both external form and to the lines and planes visible from within the piece.
Michael’s award-winning designs possess qualities of strength and timelessness, so much so that they have been commissioned to serve as awards by the Ann Bancroft Foundation, the National Recycling Coalition and Huntington Learning Center. Michael’s art stems from years of observing seasonal changes as a forester and park manager and during frequent retreats into the Boundary Waters and Quetico Provincial Park. He is especially attuned to the spring breakup of Lake Superior and ice flows in northern rivers. “Scenes of transition and times of change are constant inspirations in my work,” he states. Managing to simultaneously capture both stillness and movement, Michael’s sculptures soothe the eye. “It is my intent” he explains “to create a contemplative feeling that encourages examination, rather than demanding attention.”