Michael McCrory was trained as a silversmith at Belfast College Art and Sir John Cass College of Art, London. For over forty years McCrory has been producing silverware for commission and exhibition from his workshop in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, having previously lectured in Silversmithing and Jewellery at the University of Ulster, Belfast.
Silverware for McCrory has to be aesthetically pleasing, with a sculptural visual strength. His designs are founded on a balance of line, form and proportion, which harmonise with the detail in the tactile finished pieces. Inspiration for his designs comes from observing natural and manmade objects, visiting museums and archaeological sites. He is particularly interested in the growth, surfaces and textures of plants and this has led to the development of his forms and surface decoration. This decoration with its different textured finishes has the added function of hiding fingerprints that would otherwise be visible on highly polished silver.
McCrory makes his silverware through a combination of hand raising and deep drawing with the hydraulic press. His interest in exploring the opportunities offered by pressing was rewarded when, in 2002, he was awarded a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to research this technique. Since then he has successfully combined this technique together with traditional silversmithing skills to produce work that is much coveted by collectors.
McCrory exhibits nationally and internationally. His work can be found in many private and public collections, including: the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast; the Lisburn Museum, Lisburn; Dublin Castle, Dublin; and the University of Ulster, Coleraine.
For nearly three decades, between 1967 and 1996, Michael lectured in Silversmithing and Jewellery at the University of Ulster (formerly Ulster Polytechnic). He served as the Head of the School of Fine and Applied Arts from 1990 until he was granted early retirement from the University in 1996.
In addition to his university career Michael has also been instrumental in establishing all Ireland training programmes, including the celebrated Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills and Design Course at the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.
Throughout Michael's career he has been involved in numerous professional activities promoting crafts throughout the island of Ireland. This included: serving on the management board of the Crafts Council of Ireland for 14 years; establishing and reviewing training courses; and jurying for international craft trade fairs and exhibitions. He is a member of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland Register of Professional Craftworkers and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland Portfolio (juried Selection). He is a Full Member of Contemporary British Silversmiths and The Goldsmiths' Directory, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London.
Exhibitions and Conferences
Michael is regularly invited to exhibit his work and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. He has also been invited to speak internationally on his work developing deep drawing techniques, and presented Deep Drawing Silver Plate in 2007 at the CONNECT Conference, Birmingham, in 2010 at Hammerclub, Copenhagen and in 2016 at the Contemporary British Silversmiths symposium 'Making It'.