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Fred Miller

1913 - 2000

Fred Miller was first introduced to jewelry making through a friend who attended a summer camp that offered jewelry classes. He learned how to use a jewelers saw and how to solder from this friend. Beyond that basic introduction Miller acquired more skills through trial and error until he went to art school. Miller says,

"By the time I started at art school I had made many rings, bracelets and some simple metal boxes."

Miller enrolled in the Industrial Arts department at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1936. There he learned enameling from Kenneth Bates and spinning after school hours. Spinning pewter and silver was his first experience creating a seamless form. Fred Miller served in the Army Signal Corps for five years after he completed his education. Upon his return, Miller was employed by Potter & Mellen, a fine furniture and jewelry retail store. He remained with Potter & Mellen as President and Designer until 1977. In 1948 he joined the faculty at Cleveland Institute and taught there until 1975. Miller retired because he felt the students wanted something that was out of sync with his ideas concerning materials, workmanship and design. While at Cleveland Institute of Art, Miller reorganized the metals department to emphasize metalsmithing. He also attended the second Handy and Harmon Workshop led by Baron Erik Fleming during the summer of 1948. The metalsmithing technique he is most often associated with is stretching. He was among the first to use the stretching technique in the United States to raise free form bowls. Miller is noted for reestablishing this technique in America in the 1950's. Miller produced custom jewelry, hollowware and liturgical pieces throughout his career. The general style of his work is rooted in European and Scandinavian Design.

Miller exhibited in annual May Shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1948 to 1971. By the 1950's he was included in exhibitions in major art Museums around the country. Miller's work has been the subject of films, numerous articles and is in permanent collections nationwide.