I began blacksmithing as an apprentice in a rural Vermont blacksmith shop in the 1970s, where I learned traditional skills and techniques. When the 2 year apprenticeship ended, I started my own shop, creating my own original designs functional and sculptural from iron and other metals.
I have been a full time artist blacksmith for over 40 years, exhibiting at major juried art shows and have my work in several galleries.I have produced iron work for 2 national garden catalogs.My numerous architectural works include the forging of Calla Lily Flowers and leaves for the gates of the Adelphia Corporation in Pa. The gates were the winners of the National ornamental miscellaneous metal award.
My home and shop is in the Allegheny Mountain Range of North central Pennsylvania, where I reside with my wife mixed media artist Lisa Arkus.
I am Kathleen Yano Lapso and I am a second generation metal sculptor.My father was also a metal sculptor and I started going to shows with him when I was 8 years old.I am very fortunate to be the youngest of 6 children and the only girl; having 5 older brothers, my father made sure that I could do whatever they could.I learned to weld when I was 12 and worked in his studio throughout my teenage years; they were some of the best times of my life.With no heat in his studio, working in a dirty metalworking shop during the Northeast Ohio winters, no one could tell me from my dad when I had on my thermals, hat and respirator.My father was a POW during WWII for 1 ½years-what an experience that must have been at 18 years old for my dadand his fiancee (my mom)who was working hard, waiting for him at home. (The Greatest Generation for sure.) I loved and respected them both tremendously. They will always be my heroes.“Work hard, play hard…live life to the fullest! And nothing is as important as family…all the rest is just stuff!”
In 1980, I married my best friend, Dale.Our three children are also my best friends — no matter what I create, I will always consider them to be my best and favorite masterpieces.
In 1984, I graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.I worked in the intensive care unit in hospitals through out Cleveland, but I had always been drawn to metalworking.So, in 1985, as a hobby I started a line of jewelry and had my first art show.In time, the work grew larger and larger into what it is today – I like to call it “Jewelry for Walls.”I do around 25 shows a year in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, Illinois, DC, Kentucky, Florida, and Indiana.Many of my sculptures can be found in Marriott Hotels, doctor/dentist offices and other commercial locations besides countless private homes.
I create my sculptures using copper, aluminum,brass, and bronze, and weld them with an oxygen/acetylene torch.All the colors are created using many patinas, dyes, paints and heat.I can’t draw worth a darn, but I absolutely love designing and I feel that I bring a feminine touch to metalwork.I guess going to all those art shows when I was growing up was worth it!
I do all my own designing, metal work, matting and framing.No assistants or apprentices are used. Home visits are available forexperiencing my work in your home. Thank you for your interest in my work.I am truly blessed to be able to do something that Ilove.Living life to the fullest!
I draw on several decades of design experience in photography, textiles and silkscreen printing in creating my sculptures. I try to bring a contemporary spark to the garden and home by creating figurative, happy sculptures.
In my garden sculpture work I use many elements from the earth,animals, and plants which is reflected in the organic characteristics of the steel.The high carbon steel will beautifully and slowly change, rust and patinate over time, yet it will last for a very, very long time.