Born October 1953 in San Francisco, Christopher Smith moved to British Columbia in 1970.
Because of the circumstances that brought Chris to Canada, he assumed the name of D. Michael McRae. He began working in stained glass in 1975, employed as an apprentice to Thomas B. Shields at the Glass Head Studio in Nelson B.C. This studio was primarily concerned with religious stained glass restoration and residential stained glass design and fabrication.
Also in 1975, Chris (aka D. Michael) spent a semester at the Alberta College of Art, studying glass blowing under the direction of Norman Faulkner. He moved to Nanaimo in 1976, and studied art history at Malaspina College. As D. Michael McRae his work was shown at the 1983, '85 and '88 B.C. Festival of the Arts showcase gallery 'Images and Objects'. Around that time he was also invited to exhibit work in 'Glass Act' 1 and 2 at the Fort Langley Centennial Museum. In 1989 he partnered with Fabric Artist Elaine Duncan for a show entitle 'Echoed Shapes'in the inaugural year of the Old School House Gallery in Qualicum Beach.
He opened the original Glaskrafter Art Glass Studio in Nanaimo in 1977. The Studio relocated to Lantzville in 1986. That same year the Canadian Government granted Christopher Landed Immigrant status. In 1991 he moved his studio to its present location behind his home on the edge of Nanoose Bay. Glaskrafter Art Glass is one of the oldest established art glass studios on Vancouver Island and provides a full range of services, from repairing broken French doors to complete design and consultation work with clients, interior designers and architects, resulting in glass work very specific to site and client. Christopher became a Canadian Citizen in 2002.
Chris has taught many classes in both stained glass and sandblasting glass and glass fusing and slumping techniques. He was an Instructor at Malaspina College, North Island College and the Nelson School District. He also spent a rewarding ten years (starting in 1996) working with selected Grade 12 students at Nanaimo District Secondary, helping them design and build stained glass windows for their new library and scattering stained glass windows and fused glass panels throughout the school.
Chris shows new work in his studio gallery, that he shares with his wife Potter Jane Murray-Smith; Side Street Studio in Victoria; the Gallery at Mattick's Farm, Cordova Bay; the McMillan Art Centre, Parksville;, the Salish Sea Market, Bowser;Wei We kum House, Campbell River; Reflecting Spirit, Ucluelet; The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino and the Audain Art Museum Gift Store, Whistler. The Glaskrafter’s commissioned work can also be found in places as distant and diverse as Singapore, Malta, Denmark, Osaka, the Yukon, England, and Cumberland.
Since 1975, Chris has been learning new ways to manipulate glass as well as constantly improving and refining his craft. With this growth in technique has come a growing understanding of glass as art. Beginning with traditional stained and leaded glass, Christopher has been doing serious work with plate glass, creating his unique Light Sculptures, sand carving and bending plate glass salmon and mounting the glass on lacquered river rock. Creating mixed media sculpture using glass, steel, wood and beach aggregate. He’s now focused on the kiln casting process and creating life size glass salmon that are " glass becoming fish".