John Paul Miller was born in Huntington, Pennsylvania on April 23, 1918. At a very young age his family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where John attended classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art. John excelled in art from a very young age and later went on to attend the Cleveland School of Art. During his time there he met Fred Miller, a fellow classmate who had experience in metalsmithing and originally taught John some basic metalsmithing techniques. After graduating, John taught at the Cleveland School of Art before entering the army in July of 1941, where he was stationed at Fort Knox. At the end of his training at Fort Knox he was pulled aside and asked to use his talents as an artist to paint murals in the recreation hall. After the murals were finished John was assigned to the Training Literature Department, where he stayed for the rest of the war.
After the war John returned to teaching in Cleveland and started experimenting with the technique, granulation. Granulation is when the surface of the gold is covered with small gold spheres or granules and is fused into place. This technique originated in Sumeria (Iraq) and was later used by The Etruscans and Greeks. Granulation is a very time intensive technique that was lost for a long time before being rediscovered in the early 20th century.
John Paul Miller is known for his reinvention of the technique of granulation and his extremely unique and breathtaking pieces that implement granulation and enameling.
John Paul Miller is currently 93 years old and living in a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Museum of Art just featured an exhibition of the work by John Paul Miller, this past fall. I had the opportunity to see the exhibition and meet the jeweler himself. Below are images taken at the museum of his pieces, which feature granulation, enameling, 18K and 24K gold.
To learn more about John Paul Miller visit the Archives of American Art Website to read an interview manuscript with the jeweler from 2004 about his life and work.
Visit the Cleveland Arts Prize Website where you can watch a video of John working in his studio.