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John Paul Miller

John Paul Miller was born in Pennsylvania Dutch Country on April 23, 1918. An only child, Miller spent much of his childhood with his grandparents; especially after his mother's death when he was two years of age. Both of his parents were mathematics teachers.

Miller's first instruction to art and craft began when he enrolled in classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art. When Miller was old enough, he took classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Saturday Program. One of his early instructors in this program was Kenneth Bates. Upon completion of high school, Miller attended Cleveland Institute of Art, with a major in Industrial Design and a minor in ceramics. As an undergraduate, Miller had the fortunate experience of teaching at the Institute; midyear an instructor left the program and Miller taught courses in Rendering Techniques and Research in Nature. He taught two full days per week in addition to his regular course schedule.

One year after completing his B.F.A. Degree Miller enlisted in the United States Army on July 4, 1941. He remained in the Army for four and one half years, based at Fort Knox. He even brought a small tackle box of basic jewelry tools with him and continued to make rings throughout his service. The Army was aware of Miller's talents before he officially started duty. Miller worked on more artistic activities for the Army. He painted a Nativity scene for a church located on base and before he even finished that project, was assigned to paint twelve murals in a recreation hall. These murals narrated the saga of the armed forces, from prehistoric warfare to modern tanks. After these tasks Miller was assigned to the Training Literature Department of the Armored Forces. In this department he was a member of a team of writers and illustrators that produced illustrations and maps for the tactical uses of tanks.

Upon discharge from the Army, Miller returned to the Cleveland Institute of Art to teach courses in watercolor, design, film animation, filmmaking, and metalry. John Paul Miller taught at the Institute for forty years. He was deeply involved with exhibitions that came to the institute; designing and installing every show from the 1950's until 1982.

Miller is recognized in the metalsmithing field for his research and work in granulation. While stationed overseas, Miller saw a German magazine with a picture of granulated jewelry. He held on to this picture until he was able to research this ancient technique. Miller asked several jewelers, including Baron Erik Flemming, about this technique. With what little technical information that was furnished, he began mastery of this technique through the labors of trial and error. Through these efforts he discovered an affinity for working with gold and continued to work exclusively in gold. Drawing upon his knowledge of granulation, Miller fused all components of his pieces together - soldering operations were no longer necessary.

Miller applied granulation to forms of interest since childhood, small creatures. Among his creatures were crabs, spiders, beetles and snails. Miller found that these forms were perfect for enameling. He employed enameling techniques, giving his jewelry, a life of its own.