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John Lamb, Published January 29 2013

Creativity is foundation for Habitat for Humanity recycled art show

FARGO – The annual Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity recycled art show and silent auction is a lot like an old house – there are lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore.

“Home is Where the Art is” showcases more than 30 works by a number of different creative types, from established fine artists like Vicky Jo Bogart, Ross Hilgers and Karmen Rheault to amateurs Judy Anderson to celebrity guests Kerstin Kealy, Dana Mogck and Kevin Wallevand, all from WDAY TV, and the North Dakota State University’s women’s volleyball team.

Regardless of experience, each artist or group was given a $50 voucher to purchase material at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Moorhead. After that, they were free to dress the raw goods up, strip them down or take them apart and make something completely different.

The finished items have been on display this month at the Spirit Room, where they remain until Saturday’s silent auction.

As varied as the artists are, so are the works they created.

Kathy Luther

ReStore materials used: Bolts, hinges, knobs, washers and miscellaneous hardware.

On her piece:

A mosaic artist, Luther is always on the lookout for good material – basically anything she can glue down.

While she keeps her mind open in the search, she had an idea to somehow show the inner workings of a cow. She found tiles, bolts, washers to create tracks through the body with numbers to reference digestive stages. She also used various star shapes to make gears in the stomach and an udder.

“Cows are machines, when you think about it,” she says. “They eat grass and all of the sudden make milk.”

Jon Peterson

ReStore materials used: Shutters, stools, screws and a section from an attic ladder.

On his piece:

Peterson, a financial advisor, uses ladders as a metaphor for the journeys we all take in life, a way to connect or past to our future. As a member of Recovery Worship, he also sees a similarity between ladders and the 12-step process.

His piece, “Family of Ladders,” ties into his own family. He used a rickety, old, 4-foot step ladder from his father’s garage

“I kind of look at that as my father providing the framework to work on,” he explains.

Kim Baird

ReStore materials used

Wire shelf

On her piece:

“I’m a fiber artist, so if I go to ReStore, there’s not a lot for me to work with,” says Baird, a well-known area quilter. “When I saw the wire shelf it looked like a grid you could weave into.”

“Brighten the Corner Where You Are” includes fabric from her personal collection, recycling scraps from old projects and pieces lying on the floor.

“It makes me feel virtuous to use things that may end up in the dump other-wise,” she says.

Judy Anderson

ReStore material used: Saw

A long-time volunteer on Habitat construction sites, Anderson put her handiwork to a different use for last year’s show, creating a stringer of wooden fish on a chain. She brings a variation this year with the fish, carved from 2-by-4s on a chain hanging from the blade of an old hack saw for “Saw Fish-Caught Fish.”

“The old saying, ‘Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself forever,’ makes me think of the skills we give our new homeowners as we help them provide a home for their families,” she explains.

Carrie Lee Wendt

ReStore material used: Cabinet and legs

On her piece:

“I understand how important a home is having moved around so much when I was younger,” the Moorhead artist says of her piece. “Home is a chance to dream and have a place to lay your head.”

In “On the Edge of Walking” she gives the viewer a glimpse into a young girl’s dream world with three viewing portals into a lit cabinet that show silhouettes of the youngster.

“She is swinging in the clouds… light as a feather, carefree, feeling safe and secure, then falls slowly down to her bed, back to reality, which is still safe, still secure and still at peace in her own home,” Wendt says.

Ross Hilgers

ReStore material used: Wood, screws, bolts, nuts, light switch cover, brick, house number.

On his piece:

“I didn’t go into the intention to build with every piece from the store. I just kinda filled the cart with one piece after the other,” says the Concordia College art teacher of his piece “3,” made entirely of restore material.

Part of that was going “shopping” with his young kids. When one pointed to a light switch plate and asked why it was so bumpy, Hilgers said it was because the covering had been painted over so many times. He looked at it more and wanted to sand a bit away to reveal layers.

“There is some kind of human element to things I look for, signs of wear or being touched,” he says. “I’m attracted to the beauty of natural material.”

Known more for his ceramic sculptures, Hilgers appreciated the opportunity to work with new materials that reacted differently than time-sensitive clay.

“It’s an adventure because you don’t know what you get when you walk in the store and I like that,

“Clay has a time frame. Once you’re done you can’t go back and re-work it. I had to tell myself to stop. I was tempted to keep playing with this piece.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533

If you go

What: “Home is Where the Art is,” recycled art show and silent auction

When: 6:30 - 9 p.m. Saturday, bidding ends at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Spirit Room, 111 Broad-way, Fargo

Info: Tickets for this fundraiser are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Online: See all of the items up for auction at Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s Pinterest page