Mike & MJ Baker


HearthCrafts—Mary Jo

Mike and MJ Baker are a husband and wife team with varied skills and curious interests. Their newly developed endeavor, HearthCrafts- art for your home, collaboratively combines their talents.

MJ began designing and creating costumes and crafts for family, friends and local theatres since high school. After earning degrees from Hope College and MSU, she taught various subjects for community education and high school, including Method Acting, German for Travelers, and English, Theatre & German in grades 8-12 for 25+ years. During that time, she researched, wrote and taught street theatre classes outlining Renaissance history and characterization through historical costuming for Michigan Renaissance Festival as well as performing her educational stage show “Lady Margaret on Manners Morals and Hygiene.”

In addition, since 1991, she has designed and developed her own unique adaptation of historical cone puppets. Always looking for new opportunities, MJ headed to Tarpon Springs, where she acts, designs costumes, and sells puppets, in addition to performing in historical re-enactments for the Safford House Museum. Always frugal and eco-conscious, MJ makes old-fashioned rag rugs to recycle gently used clothing and project scraps. The results are gorgeous, colorful, yet simple braided rag rugs, good for doorways, under a rocker, or in front of the sink.

Working thirty years as an electrician for GM, soldiering twenty years in the US Army, and helping around the neighborhood as Handyman Mike might be enough for some folks, but Mike Baker has followed his creative muse ever since the “I Can’t Believe It Floats” contest decades ago. Victorious over dozens of entries, Mike and his design partner won the Labor Day Lighted Float Parade competition, with the USS Arizona, a battleship held afloat using bus inner tubes, plywood, and cardboard. Carpet cylinders became cannons, wrapping paper tubes became big guns, and a wind-up, rotating grill rotisserie covered with tinfoil became the radar dish. Since then, he has won many rave reviews, including the top prize from LCC Art Dept., Lansing, MI, in 2006 for fine art.

Inspired by the cobblestone streets, open air markets and centuries-old homes during several trips abroad, Mike discovered the fascinating world of colors, textures, and possibilities. He moved from photography, matting and framing, to pen- and- ink drawings to woodworking. He began to design and build unique furniture, using wood burning tools to draw and shade, then, finished his designs using watercolors, mimicking the concept of stained glass. In 2014, he began to create mosaics and stained glass pieces with unique grace and style. Mike continues to experiment in glass with color and texture, finding inspiration in the architecture of Historic Kenwood.

For more information and samples of our work, visit our website: www.hearthcrafts.net

Mike and MJ Baker



Tampa Bay Times