Thomas Muir | Espresso Server
Thomas Muir

born 1956
Resides in Perrysburg, Ohio

Biography           Statement           Ask the Artist
Since 1991, Thomas Muir has been on the faculty of Bowling Green State College in Ohio. Before that, he taught at the Center for Creative Studies in the College of Art and Design, Detroit, Michigan. He's the Past President of the Michigan Silversmiths Guild, amd a Distinguished Member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.

His work is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.


My work has involved the creation of figurative images within a vessel format using mechanical influences as a source for individual elements. I find these mechanical sources more intriguing than natural forms because machines and tools are continuously being improved upon and developed for various applications and operations. The unexpected forms and structural relationships I find in machines and tools induce a reaction of curiosity within me as to purpose and function. The finished works, employing traditional metalsmithing concepts, engage these mechanical influences processed through drawings and combined with a reference to historical artworks.

Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

From a variety of sources: personal experiences, reading, discussion with others, the work of other artists, man made and natural forms. This information is processed through drawings and interpreted three-dimensionally.

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

I discuss my work with others but usually do the physical work alone.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I teach at a university, conduct workshops, and I have had one apprentice through the university where I teach.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

Usually the most exciting part is the initial conception of the work in the drawing stage and also the aesthetic and technical problem-solving that occurs throughout the making of the piece.

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

Continuing to develop the work, challenge myself, and take some chances.

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

In some ways the technology has changed such as the types of torches or power tools but basically, the technology I use has not changed a lot from what was used one hundred years ago.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?


Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?


What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

Drama, excitement, and sensation

Philip Moulthrop Joel Philip Myers