|Fike's interest in craft was fostered at an early age. Members of his family and his
friends influenced the development of his interest in the crafts: Fike's grandfather was a
woodcarver and violin maker; cousin, Norman Harms, was a painter and a sculptor; Fred
Ward, a friend, was a master stone carver and monument maker. From 1943 to 1949 Fike
attended University of Wisconsin, Madison. His first metalsmithing training was with
Evelyn Baumann. While at Madison, Fike studied with Arthur Vierthaler as well. Fike
started his work with niello in 1949 while a student at Madison. Fike was a resident
artist at Oxbow, near Saugatuck, Michigan from 1956 to 1957. During this time Fike was
introduced to glassblowing by Harvey Littleton in Verona, Wisconsin. Fike later became a
summer faculty member teaching metalsmithing at Oxbow in 1964 and taught summer classes
through 1967. In 1965 he traveled to Rome, Italy. During this trip he made his first
commitment to the fibula for which he is noted for reviving and redeveloping in
contemporary metalsmithing. Fike continued his studies abroad on the fibula. He went to
the British Museum in London the following summer.
Fike's interest in glassblowing continued. He spent three years, 1969 through 1970, at
University of California, Berkley conducting research and training in glassblowing with
Martin Lopofsky. From 1970 to 1972 at Toledo School of Art, Toledo Ohio Fike researched
glassblowing to a greater extent with Fritz Dreisbah, Audrey Handler and Jack Schmidt.
Fike was introduced to blacksmithing practices in the metals field during a conference in
Fort Collins, Colorado. Fike observed a workshop in iron hosted by Brent Kington. Within
months of that workshop Fike acquired iron working equipment for Wayne State's metals
shop. In 1977 to 1978, Fike took a sabbatical leave from Wayne State. He turned his
interests back to the niello technique, particularly the work of 15th century printmakers.
He researched niellist, Maso Finiguerra.
Philip Fike taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His contributions to
the field are remarkable. He researched and revived two ancient techniques used in the
Mediterranean area, niello and the fibula mechanism. Fike also taught many metalsmiths
that are teaching throughout the nation today.