Lane Walkup’s Ever-Evolving Experiment With Metal
She transforms rough metal into flowing pieces. Her unique mix of flair and form is unforgettable and her handcrafted work can serve as everything from jewelry to large-scale installations at a resort.
When filmmaker Travis Barron suggested we document Lane’s work and process in our latest Make Something short film, we didn’t have to think about it for long. After the film, we chatted with Lane to learn even more about her background, her biggest accomplishment, and her biggest challenge - which she works through as we chat.
How would you describe your work?
I guess I’d say it’s an ever-evolving experiment in the medium of mainly metal. With a heavy focus on illustrative sculptural pieces currently.
Photography by Travis Barron.
What drew you to working with metal as an art form?
I had been searching for that thing for a lot of my adolescence. Something I needed to get out of my body and into the world as a part of myself. I tried playing bass, started a sewing club, painted a couple paintings, and none of it felt 100% fulfilling. One day my dad was welding and I asked to learn, when I started I felt like I had a peek into part of my brain I hadn’t noticed before.
Shortly after that I saved up for some blacksmithing equipment and started forging steel on an anvil and immediately started crying. I knew how to do it, like it was already part of my muscle memory or something, it was a spiritual moment for me and I haven’t stopped since!
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
I had my dad’s help making a 27’ long piece for a resort in a beautiful area of Oregon. They put us up in deluxe rooms and fed us nice meals while we installed it, he was so happy! In his element. It was awesome to provide that experience.
What’s been the biggest challenge with selling your work?
Making things I’m really feeling versus making things to pay my rent. I think you make a decision with your work when you decide to do it full time, and usually that decision means that not everything is going to be a therapeutic expression of yourself, but oftentimes a fabrication of your style for someone else’s wants. None of that is wrong or bad, just a reality.
How did you overcome that challenge?
I think I just did by writing that, lol.
Has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit?
Not the most uplifting answer, but I think about quitting all the time! This work is an emotional rollercoaster, one day I’m over the moon, and the next I feel really behind and somewhat fearful of my chosen path. I try my best to just ride the wave!
How do you come up with a new product or project idea?
It usually happens pretty organically, and if I’m not feeling inspired, I don’t make something new. I think my ideas have built upon themselves in a way, they’ve expanded and grown into mature versions of themselves, bigger and more refined.
What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
Holding the finished piece in my hands in 3D, like a tangible idea. My body of work feels like pieces of me out in the world, that make like this one giant baby of mine! I initially got sad when I would send them out - had to get over that one.
What’s something you wish you knew when you started?
To learn how to rest and reset the nervous system. Not everything needs to be action. Stress from going hard and saying yes to too many things has been the hardest to learn. Noticing that everything is a cycle, the ups and the downs, the periods of actions and the periods of thought. Consumer culture makes you feel you must be constantly producing, but workaholism isn’t a form of success.
Who’s inspiring you right now?
The people who live on the fringe of society and are completely joyous as a result!