Tony Miracle shines in his talent for wood creations
by Helen Niemiec
Thomas Miracle isn’t a person to sit still. He is a man of many interests but is best known for his wood creations.
A forklift driver at WSP, Miracle recently donated a flag art piece for the March of Dimes raffle. The jar for that item was loaded with tickets from people hoping to add it to their home. The piece is one of a number of items he donates to cause in which he believes. The Penrickton Center in Taylor and fundraisers for Toys for Tots often are recipients of his generosity.
Much of the creations come from repurposed wood, bringing a message of environmental responsibility to them. When working with wood-metal-plastic combinations, all the materials are salvaged. Rather than buying new, Miracle said the repurposing adds character.
His flag creation took approximately 10 hours just to cut up the wood, and more hours to complete – assembling the wood planks, painting the flag image and then creating and putting the frame on to make the work of art “pop.”
“It relaxes me,” Miracle said of his craft. “I have to focus on what I’m doing and that frees me.”
During the recent TLO, Miracle was busy redoing his bar. He already had created their bedroom set, various frames and a bench at his house. He also takes on consignment work, and one of his more visible works is a bench made for the front of Brown Jug, a business in Maybee.
Surprisingly, Miracle is self-taught.
“I can’t say what I do is the right way or the easiest way, but it’s my way,” Miracle said.
His woodwork started back in the late 1980s when he owned a detail shop and his landlord asked if he could make some decorative wishing wells for him. Miracle took it on, made a number of the wishing wells and then branched out on projects of his own.
The wood was always a side job and Miracle often had two or three jobs throughout his adult life. He owned a bike shop, did woodwork and started working at Woodhaven Stamping Plant 25 years ago.
“It’s just me. I’ve got to keep busy,” Miracle said. “I’m hoping that the woodwork turns into something I can devote a lot of time and energy into when I retire in another 10 years.”
His earliest clients were artists looking for unusual frames that reflected the work. Miracle had taken graphic design classes, so he was aware of texture and color. His reputation has spread, and several artists call upon him to enhance their paintings. Some of his frames can be seen at Atwater Brewery in Detroit.
Miracle enjoys the detail that goes into every work. He recently finished a sunflower chest for his niece. Every petal is different, either in shape or in how it is painted. The center of the flower has (how many?) punches to look more authentic. “It’s those details that make the piece special,” Miracle said.
His garage has pieces of wood up in the rafters and along the walls, along with corrugated metal pieces and sheets of plastic. Some unique pieces – slats of mahogany, a wood no longer harvested because it grows in the Rain Forest and stained-glass sections – are waiting for unique projects.
Every piece is special to him and Miracle has a unique way of letting people know those pieces were his creation. He has a brand, not the marketing type of brand but the cattle marking brand that he heats and puts on the creation before giving it to the new owner.
Miracle created each petal to make the sunflower, and each is different than any other.
Miracle created a brand that he uses to put his signature on all his wood creations.