Arts Craft Arts

SHCG Virtual Fair Features Mike Sorge

Macassar Ebony Spirit Bird with Captured Art Glass Vortex Marble. Mike Sorge, artist. Photo by Robert Batey

The Southern Highland Craft Guild’s (SHCG’s) Virtual Craft Fair, held Thursday, November 12, through Sunday, November 15, features the work of sculptural woodturner Mike Sorge. Sorge, who has won multiple awards for his pieces, is known for the distinctive winged shapes he creates.

His work is contemporary, displaying unique curves and elegant forms that look as if they could take flight,” says SHCG marketing director Millie Davis. “He was selected as the featured artist before we knew about the pandemic, or before we were planning a virtual fair, yet I think his pieces are very appropriate for the format due to their futuristic feel.”

Sorge gains inspiration from what he describes as “the pleasurable discipline of positive thinking,” which he engages in by searching for, selecting, recording, organizing and often memorizing quotes from ancient and contemporary sages of all cultures on a myriad of subjects. Despite the broad range of his studies, this practice has led him to the revelation that two words may solve all of humanity’s problems: virtuous freedom.

“I believe in the illimitable and inimitable positive potential we each have as individuals, and a nice portion of my work tends to reflect this,” says Sorge.

The work he refers to suggests, among other things, birds soaring through the air, manta rays gliding through the ocean and trillium plants in bloom. Elements including artisan glass marble and hollowed-out compartments hidden beneath sculptural lids, are meant to spark curiosity and imagination. Though Sorge strives to create pieces that are elegant and engaging, his forms are simplified so as not to overshadow the inherent natural beauty of the fallen trees from which they are made.

“Each piece is challenging and exhilarating to create,” says Sorge, “and, I’m glad to say, wonderfully satisfying.”

Sorge is one of 90 exhibitors at the virtual fair. Each one is a juried member of the guild, which represents nearly 900 craftspeople residing in 293 counties of nine southeastern states.

“SHCG is a wonderful organization with a tremendous history of excellence serving both makers and consumers,” says Sorge. “The countless talented artists that have contributed to the guild have built a legacy of excellence that I’m truly honored to be part of.”

Members will show both traditional and contemporary work in a variety of media including clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, paper, wood and jewelry, in virtual booths. Visitors can shop directly from makers, watch videos of craft demonstrations, interact with artists in their studios through livestreams and participate in a raffle drawing, with all proceeds benefiting SHCG’s education department.

Livestreamed demonstrations include Sorge’s Woodturning in Flight, offered each day at 11 a.m. Many other makers will demonstrate, including Brian Brace Fine Furniture, taviametal, Van Dyke Jewelry and Zan Barnes Pottery.

“The livestreams were so engaging at our previous virtual fair, held in July,” says Davis. “I think this time we will reach an even larger audience.”

The fair will go live at 12 a.m. Thursday, November 12, at CraftGuild.org/craftfair and end at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 15. Admission is free. Tickets for the Education Raffle Drawing are $5 each.

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