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Recycled Rag Rugs Reduce Waste with Style

Woman weaving rag rugs at a loom.Founder of Homestead Weaving Studio, Chris Gustin, was ahead of her time and became an environmental recycling artisan years before the green wave hit us.

She started weaving by necessity with old clothes. Gradually, material sourcing expanded into scrap hunting from a variety of mills, factories, and manufacturers. Chris then converted those remnants into new “rag rug” products. That was the mere beginning from her small family-operated business in Indiana.

The studio expansion provides classroom space today. There she continuously sorts yarns and fibers. Many looms, spinning wheels and related equipment are all close by. Chris also offers supplies for weaving, spinning, knitting, and other raw fiber arts.

The mission is to keep usable material from the waste stream and to create affordable art from it. Her shag rug offerings continue with additional styles added. Unique handwoven household items, art, totes, shawls, and scarves are newer options that are made from recycled materials.

View pics on her blog for more details, and check out the Environmental Weaver Chris Gustin on Weekly Special:

Notice how chic plastic bag rugs can be! Also see the Rags to Riches story published 2003 in Natural Home Magazine.

Basically, a ton of waste is converted into art every year from just this one weaving studio. No kidding, Chris weaves all year long regardless of weather. The studio, however, is open most days from March through December.

Know that Chris invites custom and commissioned artwork queries. Although each item is a one-of-a-kind, wholesale terms are available to retailers. Shops across the nation, including one in the Indianapolis Airport, provide handmade goods from Homestead now.

This story sets a fine example of how one person can make a big difference in one community. Add teaching and sharing to selling goods. Such work is legendary and admired by all.

Written by Delia Montgomery

I am Delia, d/b/a Chic Eco on, and established myself as an eco fashion guru by learning "who makes what in the world of environmental fashion and design."

Enjoy reading some of my freelance writing about environmental design, fashion and art -- from both consumer and supplier perspectives. You may notice I focus most on individual eco designers, movers and shakers.

From sustainable fashion apparel to paint and flooring, discoveries are a rush. I get my kicks this way. I also offer sales representation of earth-friendly designed products for wholesale buyers. Retailers may take advantage of my services with factory-direct pricing. Spend less time sourcing and prevent green-washed purchases!

My other forte is connecting suppliers with business-to-business tools. Aspects of my business vary with consulting services while I'm proud to be the aide that embraces unique and innovative gigs.

I'm originally a Kentucky Blue Grass gal who relocated to Maui early 2006 and the tropical Puna District of Big Island, Hawaii late 2007. Walk the talk is my motto here.

Early 2009 I constructed a yurt home office in a semi-urban setting on a tiny lot. My water comes from the sky, contained in a catchment that's not likely to dry in this rain forest. The electric is designed for solar conversion. I grow about 30% of my food organically, compost, and recycle to the hilt. Permaculture with a full eco system is my gardening style.

In fact, gardening is my ultimate joy. I seek gigs like design, weeding and planting between other jobs. My love is Hawai'i which has more climate zones than any state. There are frequent earthquakes here, typically under a 3.0 magnitude, and I happen to dig the vibrations. It's a wonderful simple life in paradise. As I grow older and wiser, I become more and more grateful.

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