Photo by Matt Stensland
Fourteen-year-old Logan Banning, of Steamboat Springs, is selling wallets made of duct tape to raise money for a planned skatepark.
Steamboat Springs Logan Banning's cardboard and duct-tape creations - a chair with armrests, a nightstand with a cubby hole for storage, some hockey gloves - are frequent sights around his mother's house.
"He was the kind of kid who loves to build things," Beth Banning said. For the past five years, 14-year-old Logan has applied part of that desire to build to crafting wallets out of duct tape.
In 2005, a then 9-year-old Logan spent three years raising close to $1,000 making and selling wallets for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, an organization that helps protect endangered mountain gorillas.
This time around, he's selling the wallets at Urbane, a clothing store and skate shop at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. Logan plans to donate $7 from each $20 wallet sale to the effort to build a new skatepark - planned for the Bear River Parcel in west Steamboat - to replace a smaller park at Howelsen Hill.
Logan has come far since his first attempts at wallets, which he admits weren't pretty.
"I made those out of brown and white electric tape, I think," he said. "I probably just wrote my name on it. But all the card holders were too small."
With no instruction, Logan has refined the art of duct-tape wallet making since those first tries, and he now creates pieces with ID and credit card holders, change purses and magnetic money clips.
"They're pretty highly evolved duct-tape wallets," said Mel LeBlanc, co-owner of Urbane. The store started stocking the wallets to coincide with its skate program and support of local artists, LeBlanc said. Logan said he has sold nine wallets at the store and that he has plans to make more.
"People like them," LeBlanc said. "As soon as they come up to the counter, they're playing with them."
Part of Logan's craft boost came for Christmas in 2004, when he asked for duct tape in every available color.
"It comes in more colors than you can imagine," Beth Banning said. Of the 30 or so colors the Bannings found available, they picked 17 shades of duct tape and 10 kinds of electric tape to give Logan for Christmas that year. Aside from occasionally replenishing rolls of standard gray, he's still using that stockpile of adhesives.
His parents have carried the wallets since Logan started making them, and they sell well at family reunions. Beth Banning is on her third duct-tape bill-keeper.
"I get comments on it all the time when I use it," she said.
Logan - who will start ninth grade Monday at The Lowell Whiteman School - also plays drums, hockey and lacrosse, and plans to start training in skiercross with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club this year.