Michelle Sider is a Michigan-based mixed media artist whose work reflects interpretations of the world around her while she pushes the boundaries of working in glass mosaics and paintings. A full-time artist, she focuses on her own work and commissioned works from her studio in the metro Detroit area.
Sider is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1982. She sees art as a tool that can help others and chose to further her education, earning both a masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Detroit.
Sider initially focused her career in psychology, often using art as a means of helping her clients, taught art classes and led community based art projects while she raised her children.
“I had always held onto the dream of working full-time as an artist,” she said. ‘I told myself ‘Michelle, you CAN do everything you want, just not all at the same time.’”
And of course, it proved to be true. After 40 years of teaching art privately, offering workshops and teaching high school, she narrowed her focus in 2016 to pursue art full-time.
Sider began her art career as a painter, working in watercolor, pastel, acrylic and oil. Her work has evolved to include lush glass mosaics, each one built atop a fully realized painting. She occasionally hand-paints ketubot, an ancient art form of Jewish legal marriage contracts. Sider splits her time between her own art projects and commissioned pieces.
She is passionate about a series of mosaics she began in 2019 titled “I am Yemenite.” The works represent her most ambitious project to date and hundreds of hours of work and research. Sider is looking to exhibit this series in a museum and working toward that goal.
Nearly 6 days a week, Sider can be found in her art studio, often laser-focused on a project late into the evening hours. In her recent work, Sider has been pushing the boundaries in mosaics by combining new materials and using them in a non-traditional manner.
“I must create” she said. “It is the essence of my being. I am continually thinking about how I can translate my experiences into art and this process is gratifying for me. The quiet concentration of working in my studio is very enjoyable as is the challenge of pushing myself with each piece to see if I can accomplish something new each time. I also enjoy sharing my work with others and teaching what I know.”
Sider has illustrated and co-authored two books with Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff titled “Never Long Enough: Finding Comfort and Hope Amidst Grief and Loss” and “Never Long Enough Workbook/Coloring Book.” Building on her background as a psychologist who worked with children and families dealing with life-threatening diseases, these books provide powerful tools for those grieving or dealing with end of life and legacy concerns.
Sider currently resides in Huntington Woods, Mich. with her husband Bill. The couple have three adult sons, Josh (Bosmat), Eli and Ben Sider, and all are regularly entertained by the family dog, Juneau.
A lifelong Michigander, Sider spends her free time hiking, swimming, biking, gardening and dancing. She studied ballet and has played viola in an orchestra for years. She’s a master gardener and an advocate for protecting the environment who also volunteers at a local food bank. And her favorite place to spend summer days, when she’s not in her studio, is hands-down her garden, which has been certified as a butterfly habitat.