Biography for Michael Opipari
After careers as a freelance photographer and retail designer, Michael Opipari, owner of Black Dog, embarked on a new path.
His combined experiences have given him a unique perspective on both the practical and aesthetic processes of crafting innovative and environmentally sound products.
Michael was selected to participate in the Detroit Creative Corridor Center’s Creative Ventures, a year-long business development program for creative-sector entrepreneurs, an active participant in the Detroit Design Festival, and is working toward a MA in Design Management from Savannah College of Art and Design.
He holds an Ikkyu ranking in Homonji Iaido and makes his home in Royal Oak, MI.
My process begins simply by pouring molten silver into water.
Although some steps of the process are controllable, the result is entirely random, and the shapes you see are just as I have plucked them from the water, which then becomes elements fashioned into various pieces.
I wish to suggest through my jewelry the inherent nature of the materials with which I work. Each object is approached for what it is, rather than in terms of human-made symmetries. The results are expressions reflecting the unique nature of the individual wearer.
A number of my pieces feature stones and minerals from Michigan and the Great Lakes, some found only in this area of the world and are, in the case of Michigan Greenstone, over a billion years old.
These stones represent a place, a time, and have their inherent memories. My goal is to enhance each stone's beauty, creations of fire and ice, present its story, and invite the wearer to add to the memories.
Who is the Black Dog?
I invariably get asked, "Who is the black dog, and what does it have to do with jewelry?"
The black dog of Black Dog Brand is my flat-coated retriever, best friend, muse, therapist, and the one who showed me my better self, Bailey.
She crossed the bridge in November of 2017. I miss her, my life forever changed, and it is for her that I named the company.
Curiosity led me to begin creating jewelry with stones brought home from Bailey's favorite place, a family cottage on Lake Huron,
Bailey, at her happy place, the shores of Lake Huron