Gourd Art, Basketry, Paper Arts
Mike Smith is an experienced fine crafter who has been practicing his
craft for over 30 years. Mike is a native Oregonian born and raised
in Oregon City where, today, he maintains his craft studio.
Mike was trained in elementary and art educator at Oregon College of
Education, now Western Oregon State University, in Monmouth, Oregon.
He taught upper-elementary grades for thirty years before retiring
Today, Mike creates pieces of fine craft in
basketry, bookbinding, gourd craft, bead arts, and paper arts. Mike
is primarily a basket maker with interest in several other craft
Mike started his journey into basketry nearly thirty
years ago when he first learned the art of coiled basket making
which he did for ten years. He then became interested in the spoked
baskets of the Appalachian style and explored that area for a number
Later he was introduced into the area of cedar
bark, cherry bark, and other native materials of the Northwest.
Today most of Mike’s basketry is in the area of Northwest native
materials. Mike has taken classes from several Native American
basket weavers of the Northwest and uses their techniques in his
baskets, but is careful not to use their designs. Mike feels that
it is important to respect the integrity of the Native American
designs. He will use a weaving technique or design form, but using
it in a contemporary way.
Mike also creates gourd containers
sometimes called baskets. He uses a number of techniques, such as
coiling, wood burning, carving, embossing, and beading, in creating
these one of a find pieces.
Mike has spent nearly thirty
years in the pursuit of creating unique fine craft pieces using new
and traditional materials and forms in a new and exciting way. He is
a contemporary fine crafter doing research, trying new materials,
exploring design elements, and creating beautiful craft and art
I am inspired by
the beauty of nature and the surroundings of my home studio. As I
work in my outdoor studio, I am constantly presented with
inspiration to create new and different works. Everything and
anything I do can present me with an idea for a project. I see or
hear something which brings about a thought. In turn I take notes
or make a sketch. Later I will return to my journal and be inspired
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