By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
In the early 1970s, when the late President Richard Nixon was bugging the Watergate, Michael Michaud started his jewelry career. Known, today, for his cast botanical jewelry, including an extensive herb collection, Michaud, then, pounded a sterling silver fork into a bracelet for his girlfriend.
Now, he works with real plants to develop molds. His copies of nature reflect the beauty and detail of the natural world. We caught up with him recently to learn a bit more about his Four Seasons Jewelry and Table Art.
Among his herb pieces are basil, lavender, mallow, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.
Where did the original inspiration come from?
A handful of grapes. I was managing a jewelry casting operation in the 90’s when one of my assistants asked me if I could cast the grapes she was eating. One idea led to another through experimenting with casting organic elements.
What was your first piece of herb jewelry?
The first herb I cast was the rosemary. The texture and shape allowed it to be easily interpreted into jewelry.
What are you most proud of?
I haven’t designed my favorite collection yet. However, I am most proud of the cherry and scallion pins that were featured in former secretary of state Madeline Albright’s 2009 book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.
How do you keep fresh? Keep yourself inspired? How often do you design new pieces?
Nature offers so many inspirations; it’s easy to keep moving forward. We are constantly designing new collections from different demographics all over the globe.
Do you still design all pieces? Are they made in the US?
I have my hands on every piece that leaves the studio. However, in the design process it is important to get input from others and collaborate in order to stay current. I have an assistant designer who helps with that. I still sit at the bench every day and continue to make each component by hand. All of our production is done in New York, but can be purchased all over the world. We sell to a variety of places such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert museum, and galleries all over the United States, Europe, China and Japan.
Do you have a favorite herb jeweler?