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This Pilsen Artisan Makes Oak Couture

Gustav Reyes transforms unwanted wood into objets d’art.

A Gustav Reyes necklace
Photo: Ryan Segedi

When Gustav Reyes was a kid, his mother would take him to her family’s home in Torreón, Mexico. A tree grew in the courtyard, and on one visit, Reyes used the rough edge of a concrete tub to shape some of its pruned branches into a toy sword and other little treasures. It is in the same spirit that Reyes makes jewelry in his Pilsen studio today. He has a knack for innovative methods, like the cold-bend process he employs to create graceful curves from a single piece of wood. The timber is always salvaged, sometimes from old musical instruments, and he encourages clients to bring in scraps that are meaningful to them. Once he fashioned a ring out of mulch after a man’s favorite tree had been cut down and stuffed into a woodchipper. Among Reyes’s pieces, you’ll find springy, coiled cuffs and a necklace featuring interlocking hoops of hickory and cherry (pictured, $450). Says Reyes of the latter: “I see people’s lives as arcs, and those connection points are where people meet.” gustavreyes.com

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