Sculptura Botanica Art Installation at Sherman Library & Gardens

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Artist Dustin Gimbel

Good news: Sherman Gardens has re-opened! Even better news: they have unveiled their summer art installation, Sculptura Botanica by Dustin Gimbel, and it’s free with garden admission.

Gimbel is a landscape designer and sculptor based in Long Beach. Through a lifelong interest in plants, and a more recent obsession with ceramics, he was able to combine his two passions into Sculptura Botanica, a sculptural exploration of plants and plant structures created exclusively for Sherman Library & Gardens.

Some of the sculptures highlight aspects of plants that may not normally grab one’s attention, while others are sheer flights of fancy.

Many of the pieces are meant to recall the moment when one first “meets” a plant in person—that sense of awe. Verticality plays a large role, as the towers and totems allow the visitor to still appreciate the gardens in which the sculptures stand. Many of the sculptures are site specific, designed to fit in, and inspired by, the surroundings at Sherman Gardens.

To create Sculptura Botanica, the sculptures were formed through a variety of techniques: wheel throwing, hand-building, slabs, extrusions, and slip casting. Most of the pieces were fired to cone 5 (2167 degrees Fahrenheit).

Artist Dustin Gimbel at work / courtesy of Sherman Library

Dustin had the help of a studio assistant eight hours a week during the nine months creating the pieces for the exhibit. The totems are supported by either galvanized pipe with a removable concrete footing or rebar that has been pounded into the ground.

Sculptura Botanica stats:

  • 9200 lbs clay
  • 350 lbs plaster
  • 125 gallons liquid clay
  • 45 gallons glaze
  • 50+ firings
  • 3000 feet of bubble wrap to store pieces before show
  • 557′ height of sculptures if they all stood end to end in feet
  • 39 stories tall if put end-to-end (assuming 14’ stories)
  • 672 individual/separate finished pieces
  • 176 total number of sculptures on display throughout Sherman Gardens

Sculptura Botanica will be on display through September 15 and is free with garden admission. Members of Sherman Gardens enjoy unlimited admission for the cardholder and a spouse or partner.

Many Sculptura Botanica pieces are for sale—bring home a piece of the exhibit and help support Sherman Library & Gardens.

Visit for more information and to make a reservation–tours are available every half hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Artwork by Dustin Gimbel / courtesy of Sherman Library
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