Detroit native Michael Mamp is an artist, educator, and fashion historian. Mamp is proud of his maternal heritage of Jewish immigrants that were tailors and seamstresses, especially of a mother who broke with tradition and pursued a secular life and career as a buyer for the now defunct Crowley's department store in Detroit.
Creative pursuit for Mamp happens via convergence of history, technique, and style. A Bachelor of Arts degree in Apparel Merchandising and Design from Central Michigan University served as a jumping board to explore clothing and textiles as a means of artistic expression. This was fully realized in Mamp's pursuit of a Master of Arts in Textiles, Clothing and Design at the University of Nebraska where the work of Drs. Barbara Trout and Robert Hillestead greatly influenced his early practice and resulted in his thesis exhibition, Shamanic Séance of Textiles.
From there Mamp followed in his mother's footsteps and for the next fourteen years pursued a career in the fashion industry where he worked for companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap, Limited Brands, Bloomingdale's and Holly Hunt. As mid life loomed, he decided a change was in order.
At Iowa State University Mamp completed a PhD in the History of Dress and Textile Design. His dissertation focused on the history of Bonwit Teller department store and the contributions of two of Bonwit's trail-blazing female Presidents, Hortense Odlum and Mildred Custin. Mamp's current research projects include the history of forgotten textile artist Ethel Wallace, as well as the early window display work of Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Mamp's research has been published in Clothing Cultures, and presented at conferences including those of the International Textile and Apparel Association as well as the Costume Society of America. Mamp currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Midwest Region charter of the Costume Society of America.
Mamp's creative work for the past several years has focused on his Hidden Words series that incorporates the application of handwritten text on textile surfaces, combined with the layering of color and texture via varied multi media techniques. Mamp finds inspiration not only in the meaning of chosen words but in the painstaking process of creating the text via flour paste resist method. The series has been exhibited both nationally and internationally via the New Hope Center for the Arts and the International Textile and Apparel Association and is also held in private collections.
As a professor at Central Michigan University, Mamp works with both undergraduate and graduate students. His current teaching focuses on the History of Western Dress as well as Visual Merchandising. Mamp's students benefit from his varied experiences and consistent desire to move beyond long established boundaries. Current projects on campus include the development of a visual merchandising lab with mock store and state of the art display capacity as well as the integration of 3d printing into the existing curriculum. Mamp splits his time between his faculty position in Mt. Pleasant, MI and his home in Bucks County, PA that he shares with his husband Morrie Breyer who is an interior and architectural designer.