Mike Smith
MSmithBSK@aol.com
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 in 1998.
 
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 areas.
 
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 of years.
 
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 pieces.
  
Artist Statement:
 
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 to create.
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