Items that range from discarded, ratty jeans to plastic bags get born again at Chris Gustin’s Brown County Homestead Weaving Studio.
Gustin uses such items in her trademark, handwoven, recycled rugs, shawls and scarves.
Her passion for weaving began at age 5, when her mother, a seamstress, gave her a potholder loom for Christmas. Already business-savvy, the little girl began selling potholders door-to-door in her Lansing, Mich. neighborhood for a quarter. Today, Gustin’s works sell worldwide.
Her work will be featured at the Madison Chautauqua of the Arts Sept. 29-30, and at her Hamilton Creek Road studio in October during the annual Back Roads of Brown County driving tour (browncountystudiotour.com). Her work is also available at homesteadweaver.com.
What type of art do you consider your specialty?
I am a weaver who likes to stretch the bounds of the craft. My specialty is rugs from pre- or post-consumer recycled material. This means that I will use any feasible fabric, scrap from industry, or corduroy pants from Goodwill to repurpose into artful rugs.
Why did this medium become a favorite?
I feel every person should have an artistic outlet to deal with stress and to help work through problems in life. I chose weaving because I can’t draw.
What kept you weaving?
When I went to college, I ended up in a weaving class for my art credit. Surprise. I loved it.
What inspires you?
Nature, color, art, literature and music. I draw inspiration from the woods around me in Brown County and the gardens at our home.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
I want people who throw away jeans to see the beauty in their trash and appreciate that some discards can have more than one life.