Artist Turns Grief Into Guitar Strap Business

Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012 --- 9:25 a.m.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin artist has turned a tragedy in her life into inspiration for work that's catching the eye of some famous musicians.

The Zac Brown Band and Lynrd Skynyrd are just two of the bands which are fans of Kim Gilbertson's custom guitar straps. The idea to design and produce custom straps began with the guitar players in her life, her future husband and her brother.

When Gilbertson's brother, Kent, was murdered by a friend's ex-boyfriend a few years ago, Gilbertson traveled to Mexico, spent time with jewelry and craft artisans and did some soul searching. She returned to Minnesota and later opened a studio in Hudson. WCCO-TV ( ) says the straps of buffalo, snake skin and ostrich are hand-dyed and are embellished with turquoise, amber and other colorful stones.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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