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portrait of Jerry

Michael Jerry

In 1956 Jerry wanted to pursue a degree in metalsmithing. He saw an ad in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine for the School for American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York. Michael Jerry enrolled in the School for American Craftsmen and studied under Hans Christensen. After two years at Rochester, Jerry decided to continue his undergraduate degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art. At Cranbrook he studied under Richard Thomas. A couple of Jerry's peers at Cranbrook were Fred Fenster and Brent Kington. Jerry went back to the School for American Craftsmen to complete his B.F.A. Degree and then earn his Master of Fine Art Degree. During this time he also worked as a production jeweler in Rochester shops of Ronald Pearson and Ruth and Svetovar Radakovich for a short time. Upon completion of his education Jerry set out to find a job as a designer or model maker for industry. This line of work was highly revered at the School for American Craftsman. He visited major silver companies in the Northeast. Jerry was offered a job at Reed & Barton and turned down the position. He learned that if he had taken the job he would be designing within a certain style. Jerry could not fathom spending time designing for a very specific style, so he regretfully turned down the job offer.

When Jerry returned to Rochester a call came in about a teaching position opening in Wisconsin for a three dimensional design teacher. Jerry took the opportunity and taught 3D design for a few years. At Wisconsin State University he also had the opportunity to develop the metals area. After Wisconsin, Jerry taught at Syracuse University. On his way to Syracuse University Jerry stopped in Illinois to attend a blacksmithing conference at University of Southern Illinois organized by metals professor, Brent Kington. Jerry later set up a blacksmithing facility at Syracuse. The course was offered during the summer months. For almost a decade Jerry's work concentrated on iron and the combination of iron with other metals. One of these pieces, a cooking pot, belongs to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York. Several years after this exploration in iron Jerry turned his interests to pewter. Jerry invited Fred Fenster to conduct a pewter workshop at Syracuse University.

Jerry also taught abroad through university teaching programs. He exhibited in numerous regional, national and international shows. Jerry is a member of the American Craft Council and is a charter member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.