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Philip Morton

Morton grew up in Ogden, Utah. He attended the University of Utah from 1939 to 1949 on scholarship. He received his B.A. Degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. He worked as an accountant for American Smelting and Refining in Salt Lake City from 1941 to 1943. In 1943, due to the war effort, Morton moved his family to Berkeley, California and worked as a foreman. During this period he opened a workshop in his basement and made jewelry. He studied contemporary art movements on his own. Morton started to sell his jewelry to some of the leading shops in his area. Soon after his success, he was invited to teach design at Alfred University at the School for American Craftsmen. After this position he taught at University of Minnesota. Morton taught three dimensional design, jewelry and sculpture. He established the first bronze foundry in any university art program in 1951. Morton devoted the next ten years of his life to bronze sculpture and jewelry making.

In 1956 Morton began to privately study the works of Carl Jung. There were no Jungians in New York City so he started to record and analyze his dreams. Morton moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1961. He sold his jewelry and worked as a land surveyor. He also designed houses. It was during this time he wrote and published his book, Contemporary Jewelry. After this he taught in the art department at University of Utah for three years. Next he worked as a goldsmith at a community college in Toronto. Soon he moved again to Bowling Green, Ohio and opened an apprenticeship program in metalwork and jewelry in 1970 to 1974. In 1974 Morton learned of Jungians in Chicago. He moved yet again and became interested in training programs in the Chicago area. Morton was advised to acquire a Masters Degree in clinical work. He received his M.A. in 1976 in Rehabilitation Counseling. Morton continued his education and then moved back to Bowling Green to open his own psychotherapy practice. He moved to Montana in 1980, into a house he previously designed and built. Since then, Morton has practiced in Montana and offered workshops on dream analysis


From: Fred Jbonoj Bonomini, 6 Dec 2001,  

Hey Wow!! I thought 'hey I'll look up my gam pa'! Look what I found. I'm curious. Why does his name lead directly to your site? Silversmithing obviously but why? Did he teach here, do you teach using his book? No matter. I'm just glad he's remembered outside the family.

He left this physical illusion on march 18, 2001. We had a memorial service for him this past labor day weekend in Salt Lake City where he is buried next to his wife (grandma) Beatrice Morton in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

It's 2 in the morning so bear with me and my typing. I'll fill in some blanks for you and review the history of the man whose pace and drive I wish I could emulate. I'm getting most of this directly from our memorial service biography.

Born Philip Goodrich Morton on Sept. 16, 1911 in Rawlins Wyoming and raised in Ogden Utah he started working to support himself as a young teenager rousting the crew for the railroad crew change in the middle of the night in Laramie WY. This meant going into old west whore houses to get drunks to get up and go to work. He then worked as a file clerk for a man whose advice he's shared with me a dozen times. " don't waste your evenings in a saloon. Go home and study something. Take a correspondence course, something. Since your working in an accounting office study accounting".

 That's precisely what he did. His first degree was in accounting. He earned it at night through a correspondence course at home in the boarding house he called home. In 1936 he married Bea 1940 He earned a degree in sociology at the University of Utah. In '43 they moved to Berkeley where he tried theology at Star King Seminary. During WWII he designed templates with Kaiser for building the 'Liberty Ships'. During this time he studied Bauhaus design principals and by '47 had achieved a national reputation designing and producing jewelry, hollowware and flatware.

He was then invited to teach at the School for American Craftsmen in Alfred, New York in . A year later he established a three dimensional design and contemporary jewelry class at the University of Minnesota's art department. In 1950 he set up one of the first bronze foundries in a university here. Incidentally my cousin Maija Morton just got a degree in metal sculpture in that very department. Working with tools he actually made. I love these people!

Before leaving Minnesota in 1961 to open a production studio in Jackson Hole, WY he completed another correspondence course, this time becoming a licensed land surveyor. From '65, when I was born, to '68 when my sister was born, he taught at the University of Utah. We then all packed it up and moved to Toronto where he taught at Sherridan College for a year. Then on to Bowling Green, Ohio where he opened The working Hand Craft Center an nationally recognized three year apprenticeship program in the design, production and marketing of contemporary jewelry. In 1970 he published his book, Contemporary Jewelry, which was well received.

A little side note here. My dad, Jim Gibbs, did the illustrations. We left my dad in '68. This book was finished and sitting on a shelf for year before he had the confidence to have it published. Apparently he'd been studying Jungian psychology since the fifties. During the course of  his studies he discovered some kind of mental blockage to success that he'd committed himself to as a child in response to his mother or something. He explained it to me when I was a kid. The important thing is that publishing that book was a tangible response to the discovery made while working on his psychology degree! It was basically expected in the course of his studies. He earned a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Bowling Green State University in 1976 and began formal study at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago.

In 1980 Phil and Bea moved to Darby Montana where he worked as a Jungian Psychologist, sculpted, painted, made jewelry and finished another stunning house. OH Yeah! I forgot to mention, while he wasn't busy he designed and hand built a few houses, furniture and all. Three or four total. A couple in Wyoming, one in Minnesota and one in Darby. Each of them stunning and truly well crafted.

While in Berkeley he picked up water coloring from my grandma. During the time he was at the shipyard in Oakland. He did these water colored etchings of the industrial cranes and buildings there that are to me everything that fifties design became. I'm guessing that they coincide with his study of Bauhaus design. They are genuinely moving depictions of  the moments of beauty to be found in the most unlikely places of everyday experience. The lesson from these etchings has been with me my entire life.

One more thing, in 1968 he and 16 colleagues found the Society of North American Goldsmiths.

And that's just my Grandpa!

I believe he lived fully. He took risks. He experienced failures and I'm sure he had his regrets, but I think he was too busy doing tomorrows stuff today to get hung up on all that.

Write back if you get the chance. I'd love to hear of your personal, and Tyler's connections and I hope these details will help you fill out the Phillip Morton page on your site.

......After an hour and a half of writing I looked back at your page to see if there was anything else I could offer and whaddaya know? There's a biography icon. Who knew? A very nice biography too. Who wrote it??? Well done!

Sorry to clog your e-mail but I've been typing way too long to not send it.