TRAVERSE CITY — Ceramic tile artist Leif Sporck has spent many summer weekends in the last 10 years peddling his one-of-a-kind tiles at northern Michigan art shows.
“Some people say I’m on a tour like a band,” said the Suttons Bay-based artist. He sells the tiles, which feature more than 400 designs, at art shows in Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Glen Arbor and beyond.
Sporck's iconic Michigan renditions of trilliums, cherries and nature themes are perennial bestsellers among residents and visitors alike. They also attracted the attention of a Martha Stewart Living photographer, who took photos of the tiles at Sporck's Fishtown gallery for inclusion in a Leelanau County story in the July-August issue of the magazine.
Sporck is just one of the hundreds of artists who flock to northern Michigan to participate in annual summer art fairs, where art lovers will find it all — from handcrafted jewelry and clothing to sculptures and photographs.
Traverse City Downtown Association typically puts on three arts and crafts shows each summer. Sporck will set up at the Old Town Arts and Crafts Fair on June 23 and at the National Cherry Festival Arts and Crafts Fair on June 30. The third, the Downtown Art Fair, is scheduled for Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Cass St. between Front and Washington.
“It’s a lot of work doing one of these, but at the end of the day there’s a sense of accomplishment,” said Sporck, who will also be at art shows in Elk Rapids, Glen Arbor and Leland this summer.
For the last several years, Margaret Goeman and her sister have sold their stone birdhouses, picture frames, clocks, mailboxes and more at the annual Cherry Festival Arts and Crafts Fair. While the sisters sell their products to visitors, they also have many local return customers, Goeman said.