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
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