Leo’s foray into metal art began some thirty years ago. Though the urge to create with fire and metal remained strong throughout the years, Leo’s talents were relegated to weekends and holidays at his Haliburton cottage until he retired. In 1997, he and is wife Hilary fulfilled a longtime dream by establishing Iron Jive Studio in Moore Falls, Haliburton.
Leo is a participant of The Haliburton County Studio Tour, where art lovers watch him demonstrate forging techniques and visit his home gallery. Many of Leo’s ideas are conceived and captured on film during outings of rural Ontario, especially Haliburton. He is continually developing and exploring new ideas, which are reflected, in his artwork.
Leo’s paternal grandfather was a blacksmith in Estonia (in fact, the name “Sepa” is derived from the Estonian “Raud Sepp” which translates as iron smith). Like his grandfather, Leo uses traditional blacksmith techniques. But he also employs the use of an oxyacetylene torch, a Mig welder, a plasma cutter and various other modern tools. He works in both recycled and new materials where he sometimes uses natural patinas creating a wide variety of pieces. Though the elder Sepa was a traditional blacksmith, forging tools and farm implements, Leo figures a little of his grandfather’s craft rubbed off on him.
Leo was born in 1947 in Sweden after his Estonian parents fled to the nearby country to escape Soviet repression after the USSR invaded the Baltic. He came to Canada when he was three.