"Henry Moore once said, "To know one thing, you must know the opposite." Michael Doerr's woodworks reflect a study of opposites. His designs are simultaneously fluid and solid, architectural yet organic. Negative shapes compliment positive shapes and wood gracefully undulates in thickness, the wight of the work doing a dort of visual song and dance with gravity..."
Curator of Art Gallerys * Collections
St. Norbert College
I signed up for a week-long class in chair building and journeyed from Houston, Texas to Mike Doerr’s woodshop, set in the idyllic location of Idlewilde, just outside of Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin. I was a little concerned as to whether or not my self-taught skills would be equal to the task, but I needn’t have worried. Mike’s easy-going style soon made me feel completely at ease in his well equipped workshop. While many woodworkers are skilled in building items with straight and right-angled elements, not many are experienced in crafting a piece of furniture with three-dimensional curvature. For me, this was the essence of Mike’s teaching. His chair designs are not simply functional (and very comfortable by the way), they are works-of-art. So to work alongside him and have him share his expertise, gained over three decades of working with wood, made me feel very privileged. Mike patiently led me along the process of building his #1 New Chair design. He worked on one piece while I had my very own chair to work on. Every day was hard work, but every day I learned something new. And words cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment I had in completing that chair!
"Your hands-on demo made very clear the various processes that go into creating your chairs. Sitting in your chairs was especially rewarding as the great comfort and tactile delight were more than I first expected. Your concern for a continuity of line in integrating your work visually is greatly enhanced by the users physical contact with your work. The slide lecture was appreciated as you described the larger context that your work has developed in. The synthesis of your physical and visual concerns over time was clearly seen as well as your professional business practice. It was great for students to be able to observe and talk to a full time professional."
Professor of Art and Design Northern Michigan University