American Artisans : Coppersmith Michael Bonne




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Michael Bonne Copper Cookie Cutters
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Coppersmith Michael Bonne is the fourth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople across the country who share a love of all things handmade, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful and useful products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking and eating, and they’re using skills and techniques that might otherwise be lost in our era of throwaway mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!

copper cookie cutter

Today we’re heading down to Florida to the studio of Michael Bonne who makes charming folk art style cookie cutters from sheets of solid copper.  We’ve not only made a virtual sweep across the country so far, from California, to Texas, Vermont, and now Florida, but we’ve also sampled a wide variety of skills and media.  Michael has 30 plus years of working with copper, and he has a passion for doing it the old fashioned way, using vintage tools and authentic early metalworking techniques to sculpt his unique cookie cutters.  Former clients include almost every major department store and home decor catalog —- Disney, Williams Sonoma, The Smithsonian, The Museum of American Folk Art, Eddie Bauer, and Smith and Hawkins to name a few.  He has even been commissioned by the White House!  And it was Martha Stewart herself who called Michael “America’s Favorite Coppersmith.”  His early work is already highly collectible on the secondary market, and at the end of the post you’ll get the chance to win one of his very special custom made pieces.  Michael is a true artist, and I’m beyond excited to be able to introduce him to you.

chicken cookie cutter

Cookie cutter art — it sounds unlikely until you experience the work of Michael Bonne.  Michael shapes his cookie cutters out of sheets of solid copper, using authentic antique methods and tools, some of which date back to the 1830s.  He got his start working with metals in high school, and with a natural passion for history, and a lucky purchase of a set of antique metal working tools, he embarked on a 30 year career creating beautiful and useful copper art.   His work has a charming primitive, folk art look —  the hen, above, is based on an antique chocolate mold — but there’s also a quirky, off beat side to his designs, with literally something for everybody in the over 300 pieces in his collection (you can see it by clicking here) from cute chicks to ravens and skeletons.

Michael Bonne hand crafted copper cookie cutters

The cookie cutters are formed around a pattern individually, so each one will be slightly different, and the hand of the artist is evident in every bend and turn of the metal.  These cutters have a weighty, substantial feel to them and they brilliantly illustrate how a beautiful, well made kitchen tool can replace countless throwaway items, function better, and can give back so much pleasure over time.  So many of us have a stashes of cheap, plastic cookie cutters crammed into drawers and cupboards…I say trade it all in for a few special pieces that will be handed down through the generations, and can become your ‘signature’ cookies over the years.  Build your collection little by little until you have one for every occasion.

spring cookie cutters

I like the idea of marking the changing of the seasons by bringing out the appropriate cutters and making cookies!  Kids and grand-kids will remember those moments forever.

cookie cutter handle stamped with the artist's mark

The solid copper backs, and the large handles stamped with the artist’s mark help elevate these these everyday objects into collectable heirlooms.   They’re definitely too pretty to shove in a drawer, and they make out-of-the-ordinary wedding or baby shower gifts.  You could set up a new bride and groom up for a lifetime of baking with a set of seasonal pieces.   Or attach one to a batch of cookies for an extra special thank you.

scottie dog copper cookie cutter

Some of my personal favorites from Michael’s collection are the folk art style trees, I love their quirky shapes and they make fantastic Christmas cookies.  Michael suggests decorating the dapper Scottie dog, above, with a plaid bow for the holidays!

Michael Bonne tree cookie cutter

Michael Boone folk art cookie cutter

These cookie cutters are sizable, and make nice big cookies.  They’re perfect for sugar cookie or gingerbread dough, but you can also think outside the box and use them to cut sliced cheese or bread.

squirrel cookie cutter

I think a nutty pecan shortbread is perfect for my woodland squirrel…

squirrel-2
and although my cookies have a rustic look, you can of course go the whole Martha Stewart route and use sugar cookie dough and royal icing for really spectacular results.

pecan shortbread cookies

Nutty Pecan Shortbread Cookies
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2 ratings

Nutty Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecan halves, crushed

Instructions

  1. set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar together.
  3. Blend in the almond extract, and the flour until the dough comes together.
  4. Fold in the crushed pecans.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and bring together with your hands. Form into a flat disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out your cookies.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly golden. Cool on the pan for a few minutes before removing to a rack.

Michael does custom pieces too, and we thought it would be fun to give away a custom made cookie cutter made from your child’s hand print.  Stamped with a name and date, I can imagine this cookie cutter inspiring a new generation of bakers.

custom made hand-print cookie cutter from Michael Bonne

 

Michael is generously giving away a custom made hand-print cookie cutter to one lucky reader.  This will be custom made to the exact print of your child’s, or grandchild’s, hand and stamped with the name and date.

To enter, please visit Michael’s Etsy shop, HERE, and sign up on my email list HERE

email list

If you are already on the mailing list, you’re good to go.

(Giveaway ends Friday March 20th.)

The winner of the giveaway is Susan Sears – congratulations Susan!

 

 NOTE: my mailing list will not be shared with anyone, and is only used to send out notifications of new posts, and our weekly newsletter. From time to time I will be including subscriber only recipes and perks. You can unsubscribe at any time. I have not been compensated in any way by the artisans in this series.

 

 

 

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    ruth miller
    December 11, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I know you posted this in 2015…just found it. Mike and I were buddies in high school. I remember when he made his first metal sculpture. It was a very cool looking tractor. Then he made an airplane for a friend. Years ago he gave me a crooked shaped heart pan made from copper. it has a crooked little house, crooked little man, crooked little dog, and a crooked little path etched on the back. he also gave me a tiny cutter in the shape of a heart, made from scrap copper. he called it the “diet” cookie cutter !

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      He’s so talented, I love this story Ruth!

  • Reply
    Tana
    March 28, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I discovered Michael Bonne’s copper items at a craft fair in the mid-1980s. I had a small gift shop in Indiana at the time and bought as much from Michael as I could. It sold just as fast as I put it in the shop!

    I often went on buying trips to Ohio and always stopped at Michael’s studio in Knightstown on the way home to restock my shop.

    I wish I would have kept more of Michael’s awesome work for myself, but his large heart tray still hangs in my kitchen!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 28, 2018 at 8:18 am

      They’re collector’s items for sure Tana!

  • Reply
    Angie Solis
    November 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Michael Bonne’s cookie cutters are hard to find. Not too many available. I have a few copper cookie cutters and I treasure them.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, since I did this feature I think his shop has closed, it’s a shame.

    • Reply
      Sharon Cloyd
      December 12, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Does Michael Bonne exist anywhere for purchases? I have many of his items and was saddened to find his Knightstown location closed. I tried to sign up for his Etsy mailing list, but it too is closed. Used to spend wonderful time shopping at both of his Knightstown locations. ANY information would be appreciated.

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 12, 2017 at 9:05 am

        I believe he’s gone out of business, Sharon, it’s so sad. There are other places to find really nice sturdy copper cookie cutters, though. Check Etsy and Amazon, if you haven’t already.

  • Reply
    Lynne Essig
    March 20, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I just bought 2. That cute little bunny, and a Christmas tree..thanks so much for the heads up!

  • Reply
    wendy
    March 19, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Love copper cookie cut outs perfect for my grandchild

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