Michael McCrory

Biography of the artist and silversmith

'Silverware to me has to be aesthetically pleasing, with a sculptural visual strength. My designs are founded on a balance of line, form and proportion, which harmonize with the detail in the tactile finished pieces.'  (Michael McCrory).

Michael McCrory trained at Belfast College of Art where he obtained an NDD in Silversmithing in 1965. He followed this with a two year Postgraduate Course at the City of London Polytechnic where he specialised in Jewellery.

From 1967 he taught Silversmithing and Jewellery at the Ulster Polytechnic/University of Ulster. His last post was as Head of School of Fine and Applied Arts, until he was granted early retirement in 1996. Since 1996 he has been producing silverware mainly for commission and exhibitions and his work can be found in many public and private collections.

In 2002 he was awarded a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. He used the award to further his knowledge of press forming silver which was first brought to his attention in 1985 by Susan Kingsley’s publication in Metalsmith, ' Hydraulic Die Forming for Artist/Metalsmith'. This article was about making metal forms which could be used mainly in jewellery.

In 2003 he visited Lee Marshall at Bonny Doon Engineering in California who had worked with metalsmith Phil Poirier in the USA to develop a method of deep drawing metal for metalsmiths. Building on their knowledge he started to make his own dies for deep drawing by turning steel to the required form on a lathe.

He soon discovered that he could very quickly make hollow cylindrical forms and then by using his skills as a silversmith he could make any of his designs more efficiently. The next step was to make very simple dies to make compound forms. The products from this research were exhibited in the ‘Silver Connections’ showcase, in April 2006.

As part of the Major Individual Award McCrory evaluated and perfected using a software programme called CINEMA 4D to create his designs on the computer. He now uses this programme extensively to develop and render his silverware designs.