In the Studio with LA Sculpture and Furniture Designer Tanya Aguiñiga


Some artists communicate through paint on canvas. Others carve their vision into stone. Never one to follow a crowd, Tanya Aguiñiga opts for felt on furniture in order to get her message across. 

Aguiñiga—whose career was launched when she ingeniously covered 15 folding chairs with colorful felt—uses the bright colors of Mexico, the country where she grew up, and highly textured materials, such as rope, plastic, wool, and leather, to craft soulful pieces that turn tradition on its head. 

Felt results when wool is exposed to hot liquid and friction. Here, Aguiñiga creates a felt skin for a stool by rubbing wool with olive oil and soap water.

Her Atwater Villiage warehouse, nestled among a group of Craftsman bungalows, is a hive of artistic activity. On this particular day, Aguiñiga and a team of interns are busy making made-to-order furniture, rope bracelets and textile art out of 75 shredded Mexican blankets.

While constructing another stool, Aguiñiga shapes foam form with an electric carving knife.

The diversity and numbers of projects in play necessitate that all the worktables and tools be on wheels. 

Aguiñiga’s experiments with nautical rope led to a jewelry line. Now the cotton pieces range from tastefully unraveling necklaces to classic Turk’s Head knot cuffs, which are dyed and adorned with brass, metal leaf and leather.

“I do everything in here from felting to welding. Right now it’s set up for felting and dyeing, but when it’s time to weld, everything has to be moved out and covered.”

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