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Creating is what Chuck Repnow does

Rescues, then recycles stage curtains into one-of-a-kind treasures

April 1, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

Creating is what Chuck Repnow does. He writes, he takes photographs, he cooks, and he designs and makes one-of-a-kind items. He has the artistic eye that can spot an idea for a creation before he even gets up close.

"I think it is important to re-claim, recycle, and re-fashion,"said Chuck who writes the column, Let's Cook , for the Tribune and the Minot Daily News.

Quite a few years back, Chuck and his wife, Jan, rescued the old curtains from an auditorium at Minot State University. He made them into keepsakes which were then sold in silent auctions. Over $30,000 was raised for scholarships to the school.

Chuck operates Strand Studio of Photography in Rugby. Jan is a business education teacher at Minot State University. The two live in Rugby, with their five-year-old daughter, Lydia, who is the light of their lives.

The Repnows work together as a team in most of their activities. That's what makes any project so enjoyable, according to Chuck.

Having made items from various mediums over the years, Chuck, is quick to form an idea of something he and Jan could create when he sees a fabric or item that could be recycled. Jan is quite creative as well.

"I always made rag rugs with my mother," said Chuck. "Some of the prettiest were made from old draperies."

After having such great success with items for MSU, and seeing that Rugby High School was discarding the curtains that had hung in the auditorium for thirty years, Chuck rescued them, as well. They are orange velvet, and he sent them to be professionally cleaned to maintain the color. At first he made a few rugs from them and then stored the rest of the material, carefully, away.

A few years passed, and the date for the 125th Anniversary celebration of Rugby and with it an All- School-Reunion was set for the Fourth of July weekend in 2011. Chuck's wheels started turning again and he came up with the idea of making cards and wall hangings from the material using the colors of black, orange, and white to represent Rugby's school colors. He has also made a limited number of black bistro chairs with orange velvet seats. Jan has designed some unique lady's fashion pins out of the curtains.

The Repnows have collected the Panther logos from over the years and old photos of Rugby which they are planning to develop into mementos in one form or another. They also plan to open a boutique with unique, special, and few of a kind, items this spring. They are also planning a display of the variety of items that they have made that will be exhibited at Merchants Bank later in the near future.

"In my own business, I get a great satisfaction out of creating and giving," said Chuck. "Besides, the old adage, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure' holds true."



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