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CPAC: How did you get introduced to your craft? What made you choose it as a profession?
Michael: As a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1988, a friend introduced me to enameling. I had very little prior knowledge of the medium. Intrigued by the enameling process and techniques, I enrolled in a semester class. I pursued enameling, particularly the cloisonné process, after receiving my BFA in Drawing. I was hoping to continue my interest in Printmaking after graduation, to purchase a press and set up a lithography studio. I thought that making and selling enamel jewelry at local art and craft fairs would be an easy way to make money to pursue my dream of setting up a printmaking studio. Almost 22 years later and printmaking has been put on the back burner.
CPAC: What are some things that have influenced you or your work?
Michael: The inspirations for my work come from nature (botanical, birds, insects and fish,) and from the ancient cultures of the Mayan, Celtic and Egyptian. My more recent work is inspired by textile motifs, and explores the contrast and compliment of color through the use of geometric, repetitive pattern.
CPAC: How do you generate new ideas?
Michael: Many of my ideas are generated by previous pieces. I tend to expand on an idea and create a series of pieces, such as a group of song bird brooches. I also work on variations of a piece, such as different color combinations and functions, such as a ‘jewelry suite’ that includes a brooch, a pendant, a pair of earrings, etc.
Why have you chosen Cuyahoga County as a place to live and work?
I was born and raised in the Cleveland area. It is very familiar to me and I haven’t given much thought to wanting to live elsewhere.
CPAC: What is your favorite place, event, or “hidden gem” in greater Cleveland?
Michael: As a student at CIA, the Art Museum was conveniently located right across the street and I spent many hours there roaming the galleries. I enjoy going to many of the Greek Festivals held at area churches during the summer and enjoy many of the local brew pubs and their offerings. The Cav du Vin on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights and the Buckeye Beer Engine.
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