Michael Mikula looks to the built environment for its patterns, forms and details to spark his imagination. Early to mid twentieth century structures most often attract his attention. Designers in this period utilized and celebrated ornament and craftsmanship and Michael is drawn to the optimistic nature of the era. For more than two decades Michael has explored a process using multi-part graphite molds to reinterpret architecture in blown glass, highlighting the visual effects of positive and negative form in this transparent material. He calls the resulting body of work "Architectural Blown Glass".
Each mold is assembled with a jazz-like sense of improvisation from the artist's large and growing library of interchangeable parts that he hand carves. As a result, no two compositions are ever alike. Michael says, "Think of a Louise Nevelson sculpture to imagine what a mold looks like as molten glass fills the form - taking it's shape in reverse. My use of color is purposefully understated to focus attention on form and how light is captured and refracted through it”. "My goal is that each piece be a well designed and crafted object with integrity and lasting value".
Once cooled, the resulting deeply dimensional cast and blown forms are cut open, polished and thoughtfully recomposed within an integral metal armature of anodized aluminum and stainless steel. This custom structural system is "built to last the ages". Michael also makes a series of related blown glass vessels that were the genesis of the current sculptures.
Born 1963 in Grand Junction Colorado and raised in Chautauqua County, New York, Michael earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1987. He has also studied at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and in Barcelona, Spain. In 1994, Michael completed a residency at the Creative Glass Center of America in New Jersey. He exhibits in juried fine art and fine craft exhibitions throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian Craft Show and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Michael lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio where he was recently awarded a $20,000 Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Creative Workforce Fellowship grant and a 2013 Ohio Arts Council Award For Excellence in Craft.