Kim (Pudge) Nilsen

551 Robinhood Drive, Hailey


Artist Bio

Growing up, my father was a collector of wood. He was always bringing home sticks and branches and logs, seeing something in them that nobody else could see. He created all kinds of beautiful art from those seemingly simple pieces of wood. Hand-carved ducks and wooden chains; arrows through plastic and glass bottles and small wood cages containing a wooden ball – all made without glue or fancy machinery. Just his hands and his pocket knife. He made hundreds of pieces over the years, each one uniquely its own, and each one containing a sort of beautiful magic to it.

My father’s love of wood and woodworking is what first sparked my own love of the art. As a child, I created my own small masterpieces with a pocketknife and my hands trying to emulate my dad. As I grew up, however, my passion for woodworking began to shift. I first started working on a lathe in junior high school, finding a new way to create beauty out of wood. I continued to experiment with this and other new techniques into my adult years, and eventually made a career out of working with wood, through yet another skillset – home construction. After working for a construction company for a few years, I started my own business, K&M Construction, in 1978, and continued to build custom homes in the Wood River Valley for nearly 40 years. I semi-retired in 2012 to serve a mission with my wife for our church, in Mesa, Arizona. A few years later, during our second church mission, in Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri, I found myself with more free time than I had ever had for 40+ years, and was suddenly able to spend time exploring my passion for woodworking again, but this time, purely out of desire vs. necessity. Since that time, I have engaged more in the art and with some hand tool creations along with my lathe work and have been able to create my own custom pieces, as well as commissioned pieces. Wooden bowls, rolling pins, candlesticks, pens, cutting boards, jewelry boxes, and much more. I find myself looking at a log or a piece of wood, and it’s as if it speaks to me – telling me what it can be, not just what it is.

I love to share my passion for woodworking with others. I have been blessed with 8 children and 28 grandchildren, and I have loved being able to spend one on one time with each of them over the last few years, teaching them to make pens on the lathe, and other woodworking projects. Since returning home from our missions, I have continued to work part-time with my son, who has since taken over K&M construction. I am planning to fully retire later this year, however, and cannot wait to be able to work full time on this passion that has brought me so much joy throughout my life, and that will hopefully bring joy, and maybe a little magic, to those around me.

Artist Statement

Turning wood into beautiful things.