MFA 1973, Rochester Institute of Technology
BFA 1971, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Michael James's practice is focused on fabric constructions. His textiles have been recognized and exhibited internationally. They are included in the collections of the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Racine Art Museum, the Newark Museum, the Mint Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Shelburne Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, among others.
For his work in the domain of non-traditional quilts James was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1992 by his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, became a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2001, and in 2009 was honored with the University of Nebraska’s system-wide “Outstanding Research and Creative Activity” Award (ORCA), given for a sustained record of excellent accomplishment in research or creative activity while at the university. In 2015 he was honored by the Renwick Alliance with its Master of the Medium Award, for lifetime accomplishment. Since 2002 he has concentrated his creative efforts on digital textile printing and its interface with the quilt as mixed media platform. His work explores the liminal and fluid borderland between the physical and metaphysical worlds.
James joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2000. He served as department chair and Ardis James Professor in Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences from 2015 to his retirement in early 2020. While at UNL he taught foundation design and textile design, as well as graduate courses in the areas of material culture/quilt studies.
He continues his studio practice in Lincoln.