Branford artist turns reclaimed, vintage clothing into Christmas trees


BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Branford artist is recapturing the beauty of another time, and giving it new life.

Kristin Abalan is taking reclaimed fabric, broaches, and buttons and turning them into one of a kind Christmas Trees.

“You just don’t see this anymore,” Abalan said, pointing out the ornate, antique buttons affixed to one of her many handmade trees. “Or if you did, it would be on a very expensive piece of clothing and each one of these buttons would take 70 years to decompose.”

It’s part art, part recycling.

“I don’t know if what I’m doing can help, but inside I feel like I am. If I can keep it out of the landfill for 20 years, that’s something.”

Kristin Abalan

Abalan has made dozens of these trees over the past couple of months and whatever she doesn’t sell on her Etsy shop, she plans to donate to a facility that serves elders on a fixed income who might not have the energy or resources to put up a fresh tree of their own. 

“For whatever reason, I just feel like they need our attention right now,” she said.

She also hopes the assemblage of vintage pieces sparks some fond memories.

“Someone that was alive during these periods when they wore these, would probably have so much to say about a lot of these, the jewelry, the time period, so I think that’s the other thing that excites me about taking this to an elder facility.”

– Kristin Abalan

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