Working Without a Net by Currie Alexander Powers
ne must suppose there is something addicting about high steel work, about spending hours above the world, suspended in air, defying gravity, your life given over to trust. To see form take shape beam upon beam, a skeleton
developing skin, design becoming function. But after many years, Joe Sorci knew when it was time to come back down to earth. Like a skydiver knows his number is bound to come up, Sorci knew gravity was reminding him of its power the day he stood on a thin beam and realized his legs were shaking. It had never happened before. Down on the ground once again, he counted his fingers and toes, counted himself lucky, and left the world of high steel. By then, working with metal was in his blood. He started a pipe fitting business after college, sold it, and worked for another company brokering and supplying metal pipes for sewage- and water-treatment facilities. But the beauty of metal against a backdrop of sky never left him.
He found himself one day asking the question, “If I had to pick one thing I had to do the rest of my life what would it be?” He wanted to marry creativity with his love of metal and steel. With his sculpture commissions ticking along, Sorci started painting, drawn to the Flemish method of applying paint over copper. “There’s something in back of the paint,” Sorci says. “I like the way the paint pushes and pulls on it.” Painting on copper also keeps him connected to his first love. It is perhaps Sorci’s background working on large buildings that gave him the ability to see things without scale, to imagine something small being large, bending the possibilities of function, always just a step from nature. It is this ability that led Sorci to furniture design. Looking at his sublimely streamlined tables, graceful steel legs and frame holding a thick wood box, a beautiful blending of wood and metal, one sees exquisite design, furniture as sculpture. Threshold, Steel 70 | June 2O12 NashvilleArts.com