A Brief History of Doug Lapham

Born in New York City in 1952, Douglas Lapham grew up in the Connecticut suburbs. When he and his friends weren't engineering tree houses, rope swings, or dams in local creeks, they were repairing and running small motorboats or cannibalizing parts from neglected mechanical detritus (think; sister's bike) to make all manner of contraptions.

The most memorable of Doug's early works were his daredevil vehicles for jumping off wooden ramps or careening down steep driveways. [The landings were less well-engineered..] Frequent malfunctions led to improvisational repairs with whatever tools and materials were at hand; it was a mad-inventor's youth program.

Still in his youth, Doug explored various arts and crafts, and acquired more polished methods and skills. But it was his acceptance to RISD - The Rhode Island School of Design, which began his transformation from a resourceful hobbyist to a skilled craftsman. As he recalls it, "I started in the Landscape Architecture Dept. but was soon lured by the noisy and dirty sirens in the Sculpture Dept."

At RISD he began welding, forging, and learning the elaborate processes for casting molten metals in the foundry. He also studied jewelery techniques and wooden furniture-making. This new direction was consistent with that of both of Doug's grandfathers and one of his great grandfathers; all of whom were involved with engineering and metalwork.

After college Doug travelled in search of a new home. When he came across a run-down hillbilly farm in a holler of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina something about it spoke to him. He stayed on and worked restoring the buildings and grounds of the farm. Life in a rural setting often calls for some "Appalachian engineering", and this unique flavor of problem-solving further enhanced Doug's capacity for 3-dimensional improvisation.

Twenty-five years later, Doug still calls Western North Carolina home. Farm life behind him, he now works out of a sprawling workshop/studio in downtown Asheville. With years of unique creations and scores of clients to his credit, he continues to compose sculptural and functional works for fine homes, gardens and galleries.



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