Artisan: Chris Gustin
Medium: Floor Rugs, Scarves and Apparel
“I take products that used to be thrown away and then turn them into something beautiful; something that you wouldn’t expect that product to become.”
Chris Gustin is a woman who believes the future of the planet is in our hands. That’s why her Brown County shop, Homestead Weaving Studio, specializes in reclaiming industry scrap fabric and turning it into beautiful, affordable art. Chris’ shaggy rugs take their color and texture from pre-consumer waste created during the manufacturing of clothing and upholstery. Different designs include denim jeans, corduroy, sweatshirt, bedding, sock loops, neckties, chenille bedspreads, even bed sheet labels. While her recycled rugs started from the necessity of finding inexpensive weaving materials, today Chris uses her art as a way to teach people about the environment.
“Others see a 200-pound bale of scraps. I see an inherent beauty in materials that were almost trash but now can be reworked into something that is functional and attractive,” Chris says.
All of her rugs are woven on antique floor looms which Chris has restored. Finished rugs are either hemmed or fringed but all of the fabric rugs are machine washable. Chris also recently began weaving with plastic bags as a response to the number of discarded bags she saw along Indiana highways. While Chris credits the community of artists in Brown County as a key to her success, she also is excited to expand her business as a part of the Indiana Artisan program. “There are a lot of Brown County and Monroe County artists who know how to work together,” Chris says. “I hope we can set an example. If you can present a unified front of high-quality, passionate pieces of art, you are going to have a following. No matter what art or food you make.”