Page man weaves with keys
PAGE, N.D. - Russell Brudevold knows keys. He has collected 2,800 of them. Car keys. House keys. Bike lock keys. Luggage keys. Skeleton keys. Even wind-up keys. "He's got a little bit of everything," said his wife, Ardith Brudevold. Her husband s...
PAGE, N.D. - Russell Brudevold knows keys.
He has collected 2,800 of them.
Car keys. House keys. Bike lock keys. Luggage keys. Skeleton keys. Even wind-up keys.
"He's got a little bit of everything," said his wife, Ardith Brudevold.
Her husband suffered a stroke nearly three years ago. It stole much of his speech and ability to comprehend language, but it didn't diminish his love for keys.
Before the stroke, Russell started mounting his collection on large pieces of plywood. His first display features a row of the same type of key followed by a row of another style, creating an eye-pleasing, but heavy, tapestry.
Now he creates more intricate designs. He will sit for hours placing the keys in zigzag patterns or concentric circles, his wife said. One board features a starburst.
Occasionally a brightly colored red or orange key will add emphasis to the traditional silver and copper palate.
Each pattern uses about 800 keys. Some of the keys are miscut throwaways from local hardware stores. Others are donations from friends and acquaintances who know the Brudevolds collect them.
The couple, who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary later this year, used to purchase keys at flea markets in Arizona each winter. Ten years ago they paid $15 for 100 skeleton keys. Now Ardith has seen one skeleton key sell for as much as $3.
To make his designs, Russell meticulously lays keys on each board, working for the perfect fit and look. Ardith makes a small mark where each key goes before Russell carefully moves them. He then drills holes for the screw that holds each key in place.
"It's really good therapy for him," Ardith said. "He has always liked working with his hands."
In the past decade, Russell has completed eight boards. One is still unfinished. He's waiting to find the right kinds of keys to finish the design.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534