Tanya Aguiniga Crafts Community in Palm Springs–And Everyone’s Invited

Artist Spotlight: Tanya Aguiniga implements everyday materials to craft a world- class environment.

Although Tijuana native Tanya Aguiniga now calls Los Angeles home, she never strays far from her roots. Fusing activism and art, she used trash from the U.S. to help build a community center in Tijuana. Nothing slows her down. Though she was nearly nine months pregnant when we spoke (she gave birth to a baby girl on Sep. 24), she is constantly creating. This weekend (October 4-6) Aguiniga will participate in Crafting Community, a family-oriented Palm Springs retreat packed with crafting workshops and activities that foster communal creativity. Aguiniga will lead a weaving course using everyday materials; it is open to all attendees of the conference. 

You are everywhere. You were the Artist in Residence at this year’s Dwell on Design. Tell me about a typical day.
My typical day starts with a breakdown of the day’s tasks with my assistant and interns. We work on multiple projects at a time with people assigned to tasks that they are best at. If there are interns who are not trained at a specific task, I do a demonstration in the morning to teach them the skill.

Today we had to work on felting large sheets of white wool for a 27-foot backdrop for the reception desk at the Ace Hotel, which is opening in downtown L.A. We are using seven different kinds of wool. We lay out the pieces as a composition before wet-felting. As people were wet-felting sheets, two of us drove to Valencia to pick up a 40-foot weaving from the fireproofing service. This 40-foot weave is for the bar at the Ace. Upon returning, everyone continued felting. I worked on email and phone interviews for upcoming press and ordered more wool from various farms throughout the U.S. We then moved to my backyard to wash 20 pounds of raw wool fleece. This consisted of soaking, agitating, and rinsing dirty Lincoln Longwool and Romney fleece. All the washed wool was laid out in the sun to dry so it would be ready to use in tomorrow’s felting. At the end of the day, I had to go to the hospital for a tour of the maternity ward and to pre-register for the delivery. 

Do you think having a baby will slow you down?
I will have to adjust my workload and schedule to be able to take care of an infant, but I am sure that this will just make me work more efficiently and help me prioritize. I often take on too much, so I am looking forward having a little push towards simplifying my workload. 

What would you tell someone who’s curious about Crafting Community but has never attended?
When else can you spend a weekend at the Ace Hotel meeting other creative and cool families from all over the country, making awesome projects together, dancing with the kiddies, enjoying the desert, and having the opportunity to interact with artists and designers one-on-one as a family?! 

What will you cover in your workshop?
I am going to be leading a mobile-making workshop. There will be no weaving involved. We will be using dowels and twigs to create colorful hanging art. We will also be incorporating some textile-based surprises. 

What’s next for you?
I have two exhibitions in October, one at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena and another at SUR Biennial at Rio Hondo Community College. In November, I have a show at Reform Gallery, the installations at the Ace Hotel, and a popup shop in Westwood as part of the Hammer’s ReStore LA project.