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Michael Fortune wins 2016 John and Barbara Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement


MichaelWe are excited to announce that Haliburton School of Art + Design instructor Michael Fortune has earned the 2016 John and Barbara Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement from Craft Ontario!

Fortune is a furniture maker based in Peterborough, Ont., who designs objects in wood, commissioned residential furnishings and items in limited editions. His work can be found at the Museum of Civilization, the Royal Ontario Museum, Claridge Collection of Canadian Art and Craft, The National Capital Collection at Rideau Hall, Massey Foundation Permanent Collection, Craft Ontario, and Fleming HSAD.

The Craft Awards, which will be held at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto on August 18, recognize the best of contemporary craft. In honour of Craft Ontario’s 40th anniversary, there is an exhibition of recipient work from the 2016 Craft Awards, which will be on display from July 26 to August 19. The John and Barbara Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement will also be presented at the Craft Ontario Gala Event on October 19.

“I am truly honoured to receive this award,” said Fortune. “My 40+ year career in the arts has been absolutely everything I hoped for.  It has enabled me to pursue my artistic vision while contributing to both our culture and economy.”

Sandra Dupret, Dean of Fleming’s Haliburton School of Art + Design, nominated Fortune for the 2016 John and Barbara Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement. In her nomination letter, Sandra writes, “He is also an outstanding teacher and mentor to many aspiring designers and makers across the globe. HSAD knows this first-hand because Fortune has been a part of our summer teaching team and his courses are always in demand and well received. In the classroom, he openly shares his talent, knowledge and experiences with the students. His enthusiasm and passion for design and the handmade is contagious.”

In addition to Fleming HSAD, Fortune has taught at Ryerson University, Australian National University, Sturt School New South Wales, Centre for Fine Woodworking (New Zealand), the Marc Adams School in Indiana, and the Savannah College of Art and Design, among others.

Fortune has also been travelling the world to help developing economies. He works with governments, international aid agencies and private investors to create wood-based manufacturing opportunities. He has been to Trinidad, Belize, Mexico and Guyana to help train locals in the craft so they can be self-sustaining.

Congratulations, Michael Fortune!