Kentucky Tourism

Forsyth, Jr., John D. — One Hand Art

Pikeville, KY



After over forty years as a pipe welder, John D. Forsythe lost his right hand in an explosion and experienced other health problems. With limited mobility and on oxygen he found it necessary to retire.


With money short, John decided to make Christmas gifts for his family. He found the paints he was using to coat his wire sculptures increased his health problems, so he split and flattened some pieces of copper pipe he had and began turning them into roses.


This copper proved to be too thick to work with. Then a friend gave him a piece of sheeting used on roofs and he’s been creating sculptures ever since. He has built a heated and air conditioned shop in his garage with assistance from his family. He says of his work, “I am amazed how one thing discovered leads to new discoveries.”



Joe’s work can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.