Lane Walkup Wants to Prove Blacksmithing Isn't Just for Medieval Men

The Portland metalworker creates magic with Solange's latest playing the background.

By Shayla Norris-York March 27, 2019

“At first I felt like I had something to prove,” says Lane Walkup, nutritionist-turned-metal magician. “I was showing up to blacksmithing meetings and it was all 70-year-old men.”

Walkup's work is a contradiction of the typically male-dominated field with soft, femme wire shapes. Her work ranges from vases of flowers to earrings to her "Atlas 2.0" installation at Homebody in Northwest Portland (see image at right). Texas-born, raised in North Carolina, and a Portlandian for the last six years, Walkup ditched her nutrition degree to devote herself entirely to “being comfortable with the uncomfortable lifestyle. I don’t buy anything but tools for my work. My car could literally die at any moment, but I’m happy,” she says with a sheepish grin.

Atlas 2.0

Her first show was at downtown boutique BackTalk in 2016. “Looking back it’s so cute that I was so excited,” laughs Walkup, whose work can now be found across Japan, Montana, New York, and at downtown boutique Johan.

These days, Walkup spends much of her time in her sunny Northwest studio meticulously crafting jewelry—Solange’s new album When I Get Home is this week’s source of inspiration. Her big focus at the moment is on curating larger projects and collaborations, like an upcoming textile/metal wonder with Britt Howard of Portland Garment Factory for Heart Coffee Roaster’s new cafe. That collaboration debuts on April Fool’s Day in tandem with another partnership with Portland based Kozah Numbers.

“It’s their first collaboration with an artist and it’s my first bag,” she says about the $345 purse made from box calf leather and incorporating one of Walkup’s stainless steel face sculptures.

During 2019 Design Week Portland, you could find Walkup on the Art in the Open panel at Clay Pavillion, along with local illustrator Alex Chiu and other public art experts discussing the impact of creating art for communities.

“It used to be that the tangible quality of forming something in your head and then holding it in your hands. It’s just such a special experience,” she says. “But now I really do love the connection. I have met so many cool people by doing this and am so grateful for the community aspect”.


ART IN THE OPEN: Live art installation + conversation

6:00 p.m. Wed, Apr 10, Clay Pavilion, 120 SE Clay St, $10

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