Artist Tanya Aguiñiga’s Kits for the Formerly Homeless

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June 25, 2013
Our Dwell on Design artist-in-residence Tanya Aguiñiga spent all weekend on the show floor with her team of artisans, who, along with hundreds of show attendees, created move-in kits for the formerly homeless and recently housed people of downtown Los Angeles. Consisting of a table, stool, art piece, and handmade blanket, the kits will be donated this week to People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), who will immediately place them in shelters and permanent housing for people recently on the streets of Los Angeles. “This is an opportunity to bring attention to issues in our own community through craft and design, and to try and create a template for other cities and homeless-aid organizations to use in assisting individuals who are placed in permanent housing,” says Aguiñiga. “These will be among the first, or the first, possessions for many recently housed people,” says Tessa Madden of PATH, who collaborated on the endeavor with United Way Los AngelesTanya Aguiñiga, and Dwell on Design.
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  Aguiñiga’s fellow artists prepare the crocheted blankets sent in by knitters from all over the country.

    Aguiñiga’s fellow artists prepare the crocheted blankets sent in by knitters from all over the country.

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  Paint was available for Dwell on Design attendees to use for the artworks. “Residents ask for art for their walls to brighten up their spaces,” says Aguiñiga.

    Paint was available for Dwell on Design attendees to use for the artworks. “Residents ask for art for their walls to brighten up their spaces,” says Aguiñiga.

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  The hands-on, DIY process included bolting the tables and stools together.

    The hands-on, DIY process included bolting the tables and stools together.

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  The drying rack awaits more artworks.

    The drying rack awaits more artworks.

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  Attached to each blanket is a tag that says “Welcome to your new home,” and in some cases, a personal note from the maker.

    Attached to each blanket is a tag that says “Welcome to your new home,” and in some cases, a personal note from the maker.

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  The wood planks, before they became part of the stools and tables.

    The wood planks, before they became part of the stools and tables.

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  Metal framing was used to bind the tables and stools.

    Metal framing was used to bind the tables and stools.

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  Rolls of yarn for use with the knitting machine.

    Rolls of yarn for use with the knitting machine.

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  An artist finishes the ends of a blanket.

    An artist finishes the ends of a blanket.

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  A pair of volunteers puts a table together.

    A pair of volunteers puts a table together.

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  Attendees receive a quick lesson on knitting.

    Attendees receive a quick lesson on knitting.

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  The knitting machine in action.

    The knitting machine in action.

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  Volunteers smooth the sides of the wood squares to prep them for the next steps.

    Volunteers smooth the sides of the wood squares to prep them for the next steps.

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  The finished kits, including a table, stool, artwork, checkered tablecloth, and a blanket.

    The finished kits, including a table, stool, artwork, checkered tablecloth, and a blanket.

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  “The blankets add a touch of warmth and home,” says Aguiñiga.

    “The blankets add a touch of warmth and home,” says Aguiñiga.

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  Many blankets included a personal note from the maker. This one reads: “Welcome Home! Made from acrylic yarn. Hope you enjoy this for many wonderful years! Love! Joy! Health! Happiness! Peace!”

    Many blankets included a personal note from the maker. This one reads: “Welcome Home! Made from acrylic yarn. Hope you enjoy this for many wonderful years! Love! Joy! Health! Happiness! Peace!”

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  Aguiñiga shows off one of the handmade checkerboard mini canvas tablecloths. “We created these because homeless-aid organizations have constant requests for them because the residents want companionship and recreational activities,” she notes.

    Aguiñiga shows off one of the handmade checkerboard mini canvas tablecloths. “We created these because homeless-aid organizations have constant requests for them because the residents want companionship and recreational activities,” she notes.

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  The kits sit ready to be distributed to people via PATH this week.

    The kits sit ready to be distributed to people via PATH this week.

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