Mike has been involved in the arts and has worked with kids all his life. As a Christian, he grew up in the church, became a camp counselor, and eventually worked as a youth director for a local church.
He studied photography at Center for Creative Studies and did professional photography for over 30 years, including owning his own photography studio and being staff photographer for the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Lions.
An artist at heart, Mike became involved in ceramics by taking a ceramics class and discovering that he had a knack for creating beautiful, functional pottery. Before long, he was teaching advanced ceramics in Schoolcraft College’s continuing education department teaching all levels of students including the Kids on Campus ceramics program. His love of ceramics and art and the desire to meet a need in the artistic community inspired him to start the Michigan Art Center with his wife, Carol, in 2013.
A love of pottery and working with clay also gave Mike the desire to create his own line of custom pottery tools - Barefoot Pottery Tools - which were featured in an article written by Frank James Fisher in the November - December 2011 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated.
Jodie’s pottery experience started over 20 years ago while pursuing her art degree at Henry Ford Community College, where she also worked as the studio tech. Although Jodie has a passion for other art mediums such as photography and drawing, she gravitated to pottery. She continued her education through classes at Pewabic Pottery while staying home to raise her two children.
Jodie built her own home studio in 2007 and began offering creative workshop classes to the neighborhood kids and their parents. She loves to create functional pottery with a timeless feel and for the past 6 years her work has been sold at the Beyond Borders Gallery in Boyne City, Michigan. Jodie’s boundless energy is evident in her profound love for life, art, people and most of all “the big man upstairs”.
“Creativity is intelligence having FUN” ~ Albert Einstein
Erika has been working with metal for over 25 years and has extensive experience teaching art for the last 20 years; the last ten years teaching Jewelry and Ceramics Classes at Wayne Memorial High School. She has a passion for teaching others about working with base and precious metals and has taught students from Kindergarten through 12th grade about art construction and techniques.
Erika's love for jewelry began when she attended Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. She took 4 jewelry classes in high school and then worked for a local jeweler before starting her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Eastern Michigan University.
In 1999, she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in Jewelry/Metalsmithing and a Teaching Certificate K‑12. While she was teaching Elementary Art, she started her Master of Arts in Jewelry/Metalsmithing at Eastern Michigan University and her entire Masters program was devoted to exploring new techniques in wire manipulation and wire art.
During the summer months, she can be found exhibiting at the Plymouth Art In the Park and Milford Memories art fairs and her work is currently exhibited at the Art Is In Market store in Briarwood Mall. She loves to showcase her work and expand people’s appreciation for wire art.
Jaclyn has always needed a creative outlet, likes to figure things out, and loves getting her hands dirty. Clay has offered her a unique, perpetual challenge and kinship that she has been hooked on ever since her first class in 2000. Her goal as an artist is to make items that are functional, interesting, neat, and a part of everyday life.
BZB Pottery (Ceramics - Salem, MI)
For 25 years, his professional creativity was focused in hairstyling, a discipline where beauty and art lives.
During an extended holiday in Italy, he was sparked by a new interest when taking a ceramics class and fell in love with clay. When he returned to Michigan, he enrolled in more clay classes and eventually completed an Associates degree in Ceramics from Oakland Community College.
Through the years, he also attended clay workshops at various iconic art schools in San Miguel de Allende, Haystack, and Arrowmont. He participated in an intensive work study program at Penland, where he also formally assisted in classes. Later, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from College for Creative Studies in Detroit and for the last five years, he has enjoyed the creative space at the Michigan Art Center.
The most influential part of his inspiration comes from traveling extensively around the world with his partner of 28 years.
Julie discovered her passion for pottery in 2007 while taking her first ceramics class in high school. During her first four years of ceramics classes, she won multiple 1st and 2nd place awards from the California State Fair, 2 Scholastic Gold Key Awards, and placed 2nd in a district-wide throwing competition. Later, while pursuing an engineering degree at college, she continued taking ceramics and drawing classes to hone her artistic skills. After graduating and moving to Michigan in 2017, Julie discovered the Michigan Art Center and has thoroughly enjoyed the community it offers. An artist at heart and an engineer by trade, Julie enjoys combining functionality and practicality with design and aesthetics. After years of developing her skills on the wheel, she is excited by the opportunity to share her passion and help others discover the joy of throwing.
Cortney began exploring clay in elementary school, like most of us. Fortunate enough to go to a High School that offered higher level ceramic classes she took full advantage of her schools offerings, taking all four of the basic courses offered and an independent study focusing on wheel thrown functional pottery.
In High school and throughout college Cortney worked for U Take the Cake, and translated her love of pottery into cake decorating. While studying Early Childhood Development at Central Michigan University, she focused all or her available Art minor credits on Pottery. It wasn't long before she started to translate her skill in cake decorating back into her pottery.
From college, her experiments in slip trailing pottery took off, and continue to develop and evolve. Cortney discovered the Michigan Art Center in the summer of 2020 and has been thankful to have a place to continue to be challenged and to grow in her skill as well as to have a community to connect with.
Cortney is currently the Studio teacher at Northville Public Schools, Early Childhood Education Program, and is very excited to share her love for pottery with our community.
The ceramic art of Frank James Fisher is unique among American art. Frank's art is a sculptural blend of popular culture, iconic form and graphic design. A subtle narrative is woven into his art making each piece personal and reflective of American life. Frank's art has evolved from a strong foundation in traditional functional ceramics. He is equally adept with wheel and hand-built forms. He is a master of ultra-thin slab forms, raku firing and innovative glazing methods. His fine art and functional art methods are openly revealed in his courses and workshops. Classes are relaxed, informative and filled with insight about clay and the joys (and trials) of being an artist.
Outside the classroom, Frank is an author of more than 20 articles in national ceramic publications including: Ceramics Monthly. Pottery Making Illustrated, Art and Perception and Ceramics Technical. His work is featured in numerous books and exhibited nationally.
To learn more about our visiting artist Frank James Fisher, visit www.frankjamesfisher.com
Betty has been painting for more than 20 years, with an emphasis on watercolor. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2014 Maggie Price Award from the Pastel Society of Central Florida, and the 2015 1st Place award from the Leesburg Art Association. Betty is a member of the Garden City Fine Arts Association, 3-City’s Fine Arts Association, Visual Arts Association of Livonia, Leesburg Art Association, Pastel Society of Central Florida, and the International Association of Pastel Societies.
Notable instructors who Betty has studied with include Lynn Baum, Pat Bombeck, Lynn Ferris, Kay Rowe, Janet McGrath, Karlyn Holman, Lian Zhen, Jan Ramsey, and Ray Hazzard. She has been teaching for the last 10 years in Florida and in her studio in Michigan. Betty believes in practice, and lots of it, and loves to learn new techniques and explore different mediums.
Betty is a visiting artist who teaches occasional classes at the Michigan Art Center.
Bob Palmerton began painting in oils in his early teens, and discovered pastel paintings shortly thereafter. Bob obtains much of his inspiration for his paintings from his half-day biking excursions through Southeast Michigan, and on family hikes with his wife Mary and their three children, Sara, Matthew and Nicole.
Through his painting, Bob hopes that the beauty and drama of the landscape can inspire each of us to embrace the outdoors and to enjoy the continuous learning and small surprises that nature presents. Bob’s paintings strive to bring out the drama and chaos of the landscape through the interplay of complementary colors, atmospheric effects, shadow and light.
Bob is a fan of the Hudson River School and painters such as Albert Bierstadt and Frederick Church, and admires the works of Impressionists such as Monet and Pissarro. Bob is a member of the Great Lakes Pastel Society.
To learn more about our visiting artist Bob, please visit his website at: www.palmertonimages.com.
Barb worked for the Gibraltar School District from 1978 until she retired in 2010 and taught Art - grades 1 -7, Sixth Grade, Life Science 7, Math 7, Earth Science 8, Reading 8, French 8, Kindergarten and Young Fives.
Barb holds a Bachelor of Science from Northern Michigan University with a major and minor in Art and Design and a concentration in Ceramics. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Continuing Certificate to teach art K - 12. She also holds a Masters Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education, which provides certification to teach K - 8, any subject. She did post Graduate work at Goddard College in Multicultural Studies, and was six credits shy of a doctorate. This was basically travel study. Barb has visited over forty countries.
Isobel began her ceramics experience at the Michigan Art Center in 2014. This interest began in High School where she took a variety of ceramics classes and multiple semesters of independent study.
Isobel continued to pursue ceramics at the MAC while attending Michigan State University to earn her Bachelor's Degree in English with a Minor in Child Development. She realized her love for working with children at IXL Learning Center where she has worked as Preschool Assistant Teacher, School Age Lead Teacher, and is currently the Young Preschool Lead Teacher. Isobel is a recent college graduate and is excited to be able to combine her passion for children and love for ceramics.