Building tree houses and wooden boats wasn’t just a childhood past-time for Doug Lapham of Shooting Star Forge. It laid the foundation for his works of art that are both functional and sculptural.
An avid recycler, he recognizes the potential in all materials. He’s developed an eye for unusual textures and shapes. He looks for a personality in the object, and how to enhance its honesty by juxtaposing it with other materials.
“What intrigues me is when the natural world coexists with a technological technique and then comes across as a pleasing finished piece,” he said. “That’s satisfying.”
He rarely sketches designs on paper. Instead he kicks materials around on the floor of his downtown Asheville, N.C. workshop, visualizing how pieces might work together. He calls it sketching in 3-D.
His custom furnishings include lamps, gates, tables, mirrors, coat racks and chandeliers. Materials vary; he’ll use Corian laminate, water heater parts, pieces of cherry wood and acrylic tubing. A blacksmith, he’ll forge the metal, altering shapes and adding texture as he goes along.
The end product never fully resembles the recycled object. He prefers instead to pull out natural elements, making a new composition base on a simplified, clean design that’s sophisticated but not too fancy. “People like the honesty of really direct and well-constructed things that function first, and are interesting to look at too,” he said.
His work can be found at the Textures on Main gallery in Waynesville, N.C., but he also works on custom projects for clients. “To have a palette of hand-made things can make a place uniquely theirs” he said. “They want to match certain spaces in the house, to fine-tune it.”
For more on Doug Lapham, go to http://www.shootingstarforge.com
– Cheryl Wilder