I learnt about the talented Cheryl Sorg through one of Danielle LaPorte’s posts on White Hot Truth. I was immediately drawn to her work. Cheryl’s art is inspired by and made from books.

“Literature, and its ability to transfix and transport, has served as the inspiration for my work for a number of years.  A humble but passionate translator, I use books to create large and elaborate constructions, forms in which a viewer can get lost, as in a well-told tale.” -Cheryl

She began by making small-scale pieces for the purpose of photographing them, the photo being the final ‘product’. Quickly she set aside the camera and focused entirely on the making of the sculptures and installations themselves, wanting to see how they would morph – expand – without the resulting photo in mind. And what an incredible masterpiece each one is.

I bought a piece that made my soul sing and the one piece of art in my home that I find myself staring at for hours on end. Madame Hanska is a diptych consisting of mirror image prints of the same negative, a photograph shot of a small construction of coned book pages, from a book on the loves of great writers. Break-taking…

S: What are your secrets to Authentic Style?

C: I’m certain I have no secrets – my style is a work in progress for sure.  I have two young children – Hugo, who is 3 1/2 and  Esmé , who is 20 months old – and motherhood has of course radically changed my day-to-day routine – and my body! – which has triggered something of a style crisis for me the past few years.  The body change is a huge challenge.  Unlike legions of women (and hubby…..) I am not a fan of big breasts.  I found it so much easier to dress myself before I had these boobs!   I am hoping, hoping, hoping that when I finally stop breastfeeding they will shrink back down to their pre-babies size (sorry hubby)!  Fingers crossed.  Anyway, this style crisis is what led me to Danielle LaPorte (through her book Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design) and then, through her, to you! ).  I had a  Fire Starter Session with Danielle and, though the talk was centered around firing up my creativity, my artwork, my ‘business’, the topic of style did come up because I was just wasting so much time and mental energy trying to decide how in the hell to dress myself in the morning and it was, frankly, getting in the way of being productive and creative.  And it was making me unhappy and stressed.  Her spot-on advice to me was to simply adopt a ‘uniform’.  “If you had to wear the same thing every day, what would you wear?”, she asked.  I then described to her my go-to outfit – knit tee, skinny jeans, boots, scarf – and on her advice I wear some variation on that theme nearly every day since.  Freedom!

S: How would you define the Style of your work?

C: Obsessive, meditative, mesmerizing, thoughtful, thought-provoking, time and labor-intensive.  My haven. Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the style of my work is the patience it requires, patience I possess in no other area of my life whatsoever (I curse like a sailor in all manner of situations – crowds, traffic, etc.).  I cut large amounts of texts apart into tiny pieces and assemble them into all manner of configurations, a process that can take dozens to hundreds of hours depending on the piece.  And I love it – almost never tire of it.  It’s like meditation – I become calm, my breathing easing and slowing.  My work is inspired by literature, fed by my love of language, and I experience my work, get lost in it, much the same way as you would a good book.  It’s the kind of experience I create – I hope – for the viewer as well.

S: What are the items in your closet that you couldn’t live without?

C: Skinny Jeans!  My two favorite pairs right now in heavy rotation, are a super soft stretchy pair of AG’s and a funky pair of Iron Army jeans.  Oh, and a pair of grey J Brand skinny cords and a pair of charcoal Joe’s leggings.  And of course, all of these I tuck into…..

Boots!  My Frye Campus Boots are my go-to’s.  They wear like flats – super  comfortable – but their chunky sole and heel give me at least two much-needed inches, which makes me feel tall, strong, lean and powerful.  All that from a boot you say?  Yes!!  I love those boots.  I have a pair of black Frye Paige boots, too, that are also fabulous and I am as I write this very seriously eying a pair of black Frye combat-style boots with silver studs on them on E-Bay, going for a very very good price…..I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist!

SCARVES.  Very key.  My style, in short, is lean, comfortable, utilitarian, neutral colors – with a bit of flair.  More often than note a scarf provides the flair.  It is amazing what a scarf can do for the most basic of ensembles!  My favorites of the moment include a white and turquoise fringed ‘peace & love’ scarf from Lucky Brand that my sis (who is a great gift-giver) gave me and a navy blue knit scarf that is as big as a blanket but whisper-thin.

Finally, T-shirts……I love solid t-shirts made with luxe knits and unique details from lines like Splendid and Velvet.  They are almost always white, black or grey, with the occasional  wild ventures into blue or plum.

S: What are your newest obsessions?

C: A bracelet my sister just gave me for my birthday by Material Matters, a wide nylon cuff with velcro that looks like a photo of dirt, basically.  I thought it was the strangest thing when I opened the package and first laid eyes on it, and now I can’t stop wearing it!  I love it.

A heather grey Portolano wool cap I just got that keeps the chill away AND covers my bangs, which (I think) I am growing out right now.

A gold band I got in Paris earlier this year – it was given to me by a homeless man who picked it up off the sidewalk as I was walking past and gave it to me, telling me it would bring me good luck.  It turns my finger green, but it’s a lovely souvenir of Paris and I wear it and love it anyway.

Kai body lotion – so dreamy.  I wear it as my scent.  Something intoxicating, and just plain happy, about that scent!  The matching perfume spray is on my Christmas wish list (as I write this it is three days until Christmas….)

Two GORGEOUS handbags I recently got in an art-for-merchandise barter (LOVE those!).  They are from designer Lindsay Strieker – her label is called Malaika and the bags are so special, such a treat to have and carry.  One is a silver clutch with a big metal elephant head detail and the other is a black leather drawstring-style bag that can be worn cross-body (which I love) or with the strap doubled up as a shoulder bag.  I rarely (okay never….) splurge on bags, and so I am just delighted to finally own some so beautiful.

The Map as Art, a fantastic book by Katharine Harmon featuring work by a wide variety of artists, all of which either incorporates maps, is inspired by maps, or are maps of a sort.  A total feast for the eyes and mind.

Thumbprints!  My current artwork centers around the arches, loops & whorls of people’s thumbprints and it is just incredible the range and variety of patterns.  My son, future surfer dude, has a cool big-wave pattern on one of his, and one of mine has something of a yin/yang pattern.  Very cool.

S: Do you have any exciting news you’d like to share with us?

C: I couldn’t be more excited about what I’ve got going on in my work right now!  The thumbprint portraits are the most fun work I’ve done in the longest time – they are highly personal, each entirely unique, and though they take dozens of hours, the time seems to fly by after having spent years working on giant book pieces that took hundreds and hundreds of hours to create.  Most importantly, however, the thumbprint form has presented itself as a perfect way for me to do something I’ve long wanted to do, to use my art to help affect real change.  I am developing a philanthropic project titled “Under No One’s Thumb” that is aimed at raising awareness about the problem of sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, and with which I am raising money for organizations working hard to fight the problem and empower survivors.  When a thumbprint portrait is commissioned, I donate 25% of the selling price to this cause, and I am also developing an exhibition and auction event with celebrity thumbprint portraits, which I am hoping will bring in a good deal of money for the cause, as well as bringing much-needed attention.  This is a project I anticipate spending most of my time on this upcoming year and I am really, really excited about it.  I have a ’causes’ page on Facebook for the project if anyone is interested in joining (http://apps.facebook.com/causes/414140), and my web site, which is updated regularly as the project progresses, has more information about the project as well.