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Member Spotlight

MichaelOpipariSL

“After careers as a freelance photographer and retail designer, I embarked on a new path. Since 2017 when I began jewelry design, I've used my combined experiences to give me a unique perspective. My combined experiences gave me a unique perspective on the practical and aesthetic processes of crafting innovative and wearable products.

As a result, I was selected to participate in the Detroit Creative Corridor Center's Creative Ventures, a year-long business development program for creative-sector entrepreneurs, and an active participant in the Detroit Design Festival. I attended CCS for photography and a MA in Design Management at Savannah College of Art and Design. I’ve been a member of Michigan Silversmiths Guild since January, 2021.

My journey to metalsmithing started simply; stringing and wrapping stones found on the beaches of Lake Huron. Not being satisfied with that, I attended classes at BBAC and Oakland CC to expand my skills.

I use traditional and non-traditional metalsmithing techniques to create my jewelry. My work involves water-casting, a process involving dropping molten metal into water. This process, completely random, often duplicates shapes and forms found in nature, and I'll often pair the results with pearls or semi-precious stones.  It's fascinating to hear the reactions and interpretations that people have towards my work. Some see flowers, some seashells, or sea creatures. Further work with the process and inspiration from bio-centrism has taught me the nuances of the process. I'm excited to see where this leads and hope you'll follow along with me.

One of my favorite pieces is a headband made of water-cast silver components, bronze, and pearls, and it is one of the pieces that elicits the most significant reaction.

I exhibit at various art fairs, and sell online through Instagram or my website. Having been a very successful art fair summer, I'm looking forward to an equally successful fall, highlighted by Artfest Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

There's a name change in the works. Since I started making jewelry, I've gone by Black Dog for reasons I won't go into here. In every show, I'm listed as Michael Opipari, even my booth placards. Some people think I make jewelry for dogs. Some think my jewelry features black dogs, and honestly, there are too many "black dog" companies out there - a failure from a marketing standpoint. Henceforth while my LLC is Black Dog, I'll be using a DBA of Michael Opipari Silversmith. The change will occur to my business's Facebook page, Instagram, website, and email. I apologize for any inconvenience and assure you that it's only temporary.”

Michael’s work may be seen on his website at www.blackdogbrand.com.