Furniture becomes art at annual KDUR auction

Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:25 PM
Lisa Pedolsky and Craig Erickson collaborated on this wood, steel and ceramic table for KDUR’s Furniture As Art auction.
“Passion Flower” by Eric Way is a lamp made of repurposed materials. It will be auctioned off during Furniture As Art.
Marie Rolfing has created “A Break Up With Your Phone Stand” for this year’s KDUR’s Furniture As Art auction. It is a reclaimed bedstand that features a copper lamp with a blown-glass shade.

Buying furniture can be a chore – except when it’s KDUR’s Furniture As Art Auction.

The annual event, which as been held for at least the last 15 years, is one of Fort Lewis College radio station’s biggest fundraisers. Last year, the station raised about $12,000, said Station Manager Bryant Liggett.

The auction will be held Thursday at Durango Arts Center. Your ticket allows you to bid on furniture and also includes live music by Jeff Solon, appetizers and dessert by Chuck Norton, and three free drinks.

The Durango Herald talked to a few of the artists participating this year; some have been involved since the beginning, and for others, it is their first auction.

Lisa Pedolsky and Craig EricksonCeramic artist Pedolsky and fine furniture and cabinet-maker Erickson have teamed up for their third contribution to the auction – a 24-square-inch table worked in mahogany with a welded-steel frame that features embedded ceramic components. In addition, the table comes with a ceramic vase and two tiles to use as coasters.

Erickson said the idea to embed the ceramic pieces in the table came when platters Pedolsky made “met their demise in the kiln.” So the two repurposed them for the project.

For Erickson, this year’s piece is a way to build on his knowledge. “I’m trying to work on some new skillsets,” he said. “I welded up a table base and combined that with the wood and the ceramics, (we used) a variety of materials in a clean, contemporary piece.”

Pedolsky, who is headed into her 13th year as a contributor to Furniture As Art, said she and Erickson make a good team.

“We’re both really committed to fine craftsmanship, which is why we work so well together,” she said. “We’re aligned aesthetically, and fine craftsmanship is also paramount, so it’s a pleasure working together and pouring our hearts and souls into the work we do.”

Tom KippKipp, a tattoo artist by trade, creates types of art beyond skin. He is also a volunteer DJ at KDUR with a weekly show, “Hoot,” which airs Wednesday nights. This is his 10th year participating in the auction.

This year, he collaborated with his friend Zach Counter to make a short bench. Kipp made the wooden seat, and Counter, who works with metal, built the base.

Kipp said because the piece is made of recycled materials, the biggest challenge they faced was pulling old screws and nails from the chunk of wood to prepare it for sanding.

“This and every fundraiser for community radio is important so that the station can continue to provide what is, in my opinion, an invaluable service to its community,” he said. “News, entertainment and, most importantly, good music aren’t free, and I am happy to provide my time to build something that keeps the station running. With Furniture as Art in particular, I am always impressed to see what clever, creative or downright beautiful pieces the other artists came up with, and the auction itself is a very exciting event.”

Marie RolfingRolfing, who will participate in the auction for the second time, pulls other people into making her art.

“All my art projects are definitely family-involved, even the one I’m creating this year,” she said. “My mom, Barbara Rolfing, gave me an old bedstand and said, ‘Why don’t you try to figure out something with this?’”

After staring at it for a week, Rolfing knew what the piece would become.

On the back of the bedstand, she mounted a metal photograph she took. She made and attached a copper lamp with a lampshade made from glass blown by her sister, Lila Jarvis. On top of the bedstand, there is a martini glass that is right up against the photograph. “It’s a riot,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve been happy to have the opportunity to have it go to something like KDUR.”

Amy FelkerFelker has participated in the auction almost since the beginning.

“I’m a traditionalist. Furniture as Art used to be about in May, which always was very fortuitous because the alley cleanup was right about that time, so everyone would usually just find a piece of alley furniture and redo it and turn it into art,” she said. “I have still kept with that, and now I usually find something in the spring cleanup and save it and repaint it – much to my husband’s chagrin.”

In the past couple of years, Felker has found pieces at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

“This year, I found this cool, cool plain chair that’s very modern, and I’m going to paint it and probably embellish it,” she said. “I usually do something Dia de los Muertos because that usually sells really well.”

Andy OlsonOlson, who went to Fort Lewis College and was a DJ at KDUR, will submit a lantern for his first auction.

The lantern is made of paper and birch wood and has an LED bulb on the inside.

Olson said contributing to the auction is a way to give back to the station, and a way to get his artwork seen by the larger community.

“It’s important not only for KDUR – which is the best radio station in the Southwest – it brings them the money they need, but it’s also good for people like me who can use a little bit of local publicity,” he said. “It’s also good to get the artists’ artwork out there. It always feels good to know that someone who wanted your piece ended up with it. To have the piece get received well is always the goal.”

Eric WayFor his fourth year in the auction, Way created a lamp from reclaimed materials.

“I’m an electrician and a carpenter, so I deal with a lot of remodel work. It’s all recycled materials out of an old house. I call it ‘post-industrial assemblage,’” he said, adding that the piece took about 20 hours to make.

“For me, KDUR is one of the best stations I’ve heard,” he said. “And local radio is a good thing.”

If you go

What: KDUR’s Furniture As Art Auction.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Ave.

Tickets: $30. Available at Maria’s Bookshop, 960 Main Ave., and at KDUR, Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.

More information: Visit or call 247-7628.

Note: This year’s featured artists are: Mike Brieger, Shannon Cruise, Amy Felker, John Ford, Jeremy Gable, Philip Graveson, ​Tom Hahl, McCarson Leigh, ​Janet Kenna, ​Tom Kipp & Zach Counter, Counter Kulture, ​Noah Leggett & Tori Baca, ​Maureen May & Blake Crouch, Monica McManus​ & Jared Reed, Andy Olson, Lisa Pedolsky & Craig Erickson, Marie Rolfing, Bryan & Bella Saren and Eric Way.