Trolls Take Over The Morton Arboretum

Trolls have emerged from the forest floor at the Morton Arboretum.

Over a year ago, the arboretum invited Danish artist Thomas Dambo to bring six trolls to life this summer. After a few months of constructing detailed pieces like heads, hands, and feet, in his Copenhagen shop, Dambo brought his crew here to build the rest over the past two months. Now they’ve completed the installation “Troll Hunt.”

“So I wanted to create the trolls as the guardians of the beautiful pocket of nature,” said Dambo. “So all the trolls are hiding and protecting and setting up traps to catch the people. So they make sure the people won’t come in here and litter or build a big road just through where the trolls are living.”

Hidden throughout the 1,700 acres, you’ll discover trolls of all shapes and sizes, from Little Arturs, laying 60 feet long, to Joe the Guardian, standing 30 feet tall with his spear.

“All my artworks are made with trash because I want to shine light on all the beautiful things that we can make out of our waste,” added Dambo. “I make this project because I want people to understand that trash can have value. So I don’t think everybody should start making big trolls all over the place that wouldn’t really solve anything. But maybe people can make a doghouse or a swing or a garage for their car with some scraps or something.”

It was that sustainability the Morton Arboretum connected to the most, as over 300,000 reclaimed wood pieces were used for the sculptures, along with other branches and sticks from the environment around each troll.

“It’s also great because we love when visitors get out from the main Visitor Center area and go and explore our tree collections and really immerse themselves into the natural surroundings and “Troll Hunt” very much does that. It takes you to new corners of the arboretum you might not have discovered before and it really gets you to get out and explore,” explained Patti MacMillan, PR specialist for the arboretum.

Arboretum visitors will be given a troll hunters handbook when arriving, which includes riddles to help you on the search. There’s also a secret troll hideout waiting to be discovered.

The trolls will be protecting the Morton Arboretum for at least a year. As they’re outside in the elements, once they’re no longer asthetically pleasing or safe for visitors they’ll be dismantled.

The hunt officially begins June 22.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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