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.
I use metal clay, combined with traditional metalsmithing techniques. Metal clay is an expressive material and allows me to create organic, one-of-a-kind pieces.
A lot of my work features stones and minerals from Michigan and the Great Lakes. My inspiration comes from these stones; 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 own 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