Since his career began 52 years ago, Fortune has become acclaimed for his innovative, but resolved, designs for one-of-a-kind objects in wood and non-ferrous metals, commissioned residential furnishings, and items in limited editions. His work has brought him an international clientele and reputation. He is acknowledged for both his technical and design expertise, giving lectures and workshops across Canada, United States, New Zealand and Australia. His work has appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide. In 1993 Fortune received the prestigious Prix Saidye Bronfman, Canada’s highest award in craft. Juried by his peers, he was the first woodworker to receive this award. He has taught at many schools and craft centers including; Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, the Rochester Institute of Technology NY, Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, Anderson Arts Center, Colorado, Savannah College of Art and Design, Australian National University School of Art and the Marc Adams School in Indiana where the fellowship program for advanced students has been named in his honor. Michael is the senior mentor for the Artist in Residence program at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in New Zealand.
Fortune has undertaken similar ventures using sustainable source timber in Mexico aimed at supplying the expanding hotel industry within the country. In addition Fortune has volunteered his time and expertise to Woodlinks, a joint Canadian/U.S. not-for-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing vocational training in secondary schools throughout North America. He is currently a board member of Greenwood, a not-for-profit encouraging sustainable use of global timber resources. Michael is assisting a new school in Puerto Rico that promotes use of timber salvaged after destructive hurricanes. He was an active trustee of the Furniture Society based in North Carolina, an organization that encourages innovative studio furniture making across North America. With this organization, Fortune promoted a contemporary internship program that gives emerging craftspeople opportunities to work alongside established makers throughout North America.
Michael Fortune received the 2007 Award of Distinction from the Furniture Society and is the first Canadian to receive this prestigious award. He received the Mather Award in 2019 for his contribution to craft in Ontario. Michael Fortune has a clear vision of how fine craft can positively affect the culture and economy of Canada and the world beyond.
-How to develop a long term relationship with a client
-Strategies for survival leading to prosperity.
-How to rationalize a design for small batch or occasional fabrication.
-When to hire and manage an employee(s)