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Blankets, reused textile - clothing, variable sizes, 2023

Threads of Hope: textile artwork, Blankets & pillows, 2023-2024


Amidst the constant movement and noise of New York City's bustling streets, a new project has emerged from a blend of compassion and creativity. Motivated by a personal commitment to environmental sustainability and social compassion, the project redefines recycling by repurposing old clothing into blankets and pillows for the homeless people of New York City.

The process entails repurposing worn clothing, fabric scraps, and household textiles to create artistic blankets and pillows. "Threads of Hope" is inspired by the transformative concept of upcycling. Each stitch in these creations carries messages of HOPE and CARE, aiming to provide both physical warmth and emotional solace to those in need.

Through this creative approach, the project aims to minimize waste while adding significance to each piece. This symbolizes a profound transformation of both materials and people's lives.

Since its inception in May 2023, "Threads of Hope" has become a symbol of resilience and generosity, creating over 10 blankets and pillows, each a labor of love designed to provide warmth and comfort during the cold season, which were distributed throughout Manhattan to the homeless people.

The distribution of blankets is a meaningful exchange of empathy and connection, rather than just a transaction. It involves venturing out into the streets to seek out homeless individuals with whom to share not only artistic gifts but also time and attention. Through conversations that transcend mere exchanges, one can listen to their stories and offer solace and understanding amidst the challenges of their circumstances.

The "Threads of Hope" project aims to foster a sense of community and dignity for all. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of art, sustainability, and human connection in a world often overshadowed by hardship. The project seeks to inspire others to embrace the beauty of upcycling and the boundless potential of compassion to create positive change in the world.

Pillows, reused textile - clothing, variable sizes, 2023


The project's main focus is a collection of carefully crafted blankets, designed using a combination of hand and machine stitching techniques. Each blanket serves as a canvas adorned with symbolic elements that represent the multifaceted identity of New York City. These elements range from the iconic skyline silhouette to the inclusive rainbow symbolizing diversity, as well as symbols representing the city, such as the map of New York City, the skyscrapers, and the American flag.


Embedded in the fabric are subtle yet powerful messages of CARE, STRENGTH, KINDNESS, LOVE, SYMPATHY, PROTECTION, SOLIDARITY, and HUMANITY. These messages serve as gentle reminders of the collective responsibility we hold towards one another and the planet we call home. The blankets provide physical warmth and emotional comfort and support, fostering a sense of community and empathy.


The blankets are accompanied by a collection of artisanal pillows. Each pillow is a unique fusion of diverse techniques, including stitching, painting, and image transfer. The pillows feature emblematic images of New York landmarks and symbols, from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge, encapsulating the city's rich cultural heritage and historical significance. They also include designs such as the US Constitution, the US map, and a rainbow rendition of the US Flag, reminding us of the country's role in addressing homelessness.


I decided to create blankets and pillows because I've seen homeless people sleeping right on the street without a blanket to keep them warm or a pillow to support their head on the asphalt.

"Threads of Hope" serves as a reminder of the enduring spirit of New York City - a place we cherish and call home, where diversity thrives and compassion knows no bounds. Through the messages embedded in the fabric, people are encouraged to reflect on their own role within the broader narrative of humanity, and to recognize the importance of solidarity and mutual awareness in shaping a more inclusive and compassionate society.


Ron, a 42-year-old man from New Jersey, shares an unbreakable bond with his loyal companion, Tank, a devoted dog that stands by his side through thick and thin. Their story is one of resilience amidst adversity, as Ron grapples with familial challenges that have left him without a steady place to call home. Finding shelter for himself and Tank proves to be a daunting task, because most of the shelters don’t accept animals. The inseparable duo navigates through the complexities of life, often seeking refuge wherever they can. While occasionally finding a temporary place to rest on someone's couch, the majority of their nights are spent braving the harsh realities of the streets. Their story epitomizes resilience, highlighting the profound bond between a man and his cherished canine companion as they persevere through life's uncertainties together. If anyone wants to help them, you can find them at Grand Central.


Salvatia is a mysterious figure who traverses life with an enigmatic air, embracing the complexities of her past while navigating an uncertain present, but not revealing much of her history. She occasionally seeks refuge in shelters, but her existence predominantly unfolds amidst the bustling streets. The Port Authority serves as a familiar backdrop to her transient journey, where her presence seems almost like an integral part of the surroundings.


Will, originally from Georgia, found himself in New York driven by an unyielding determination to protect his adopted children. His decision to traverse the distance from his hometown was guided by a profound belief in spirits, compelling him to take this challenging journey to safeguard those dear to his heart. He navigates between seeking refuge in a shelter and enduring the harsh realities of life on the streets. Now, he is ready to return home anytime, he longs for the comforting embrace of his family, deeply missing the presence of his loved ones. He gladly accepted the gifts and told me he would take them back to Georgia to his family.


Alex came to New York to reconnect with her relatives in the city, but her search brings only disappointment because she hasn't found them. She has a home in Colorado, Nevada, where her young daughter expects her to come back and go to church together. She didn't want to go to the shelter, so she decided to sleep on the streets. She said the blanket was beautiful and reminded her of when she used to sew different garments. Amid the chaos of urban life, Alex's resilient spirit and fond memories serve as a beacon of hope, guiding her through the challenges of sleeping on the streets with a smile on her face and determination to return to Colorado.



Initially hesitant to share his story, 65-year-old Gerry eventually opened up and shared tips and tricks for surviving the streets of New York. Born in Guyana, South America, he moved to the U.S. in 1983 and until recently lived with his family in a three-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Now he needed a break from them, joking that they talk too much. Gerry is married with two children; one attends college in North Carolina on a scholarship and the other lives in South Carolina. It was surprising to discover that he had worked as a commercial artist, making all kinds of signs for doors and stores, and he painted, which explains the elaborate cardboard sign he had asking for help. He wants to apply for a pension and currently receives assistance through programs such as Fair Fares, food stamps, and Medicare. He does not want to return to the shelter because of the strict programs and theft.  His trick is to stay on the bus or train and rarely sleeps outside because he says he could get robbed. To survive at night, he takes the Select bus from 12 to 6 a.m., making 2-3 round-trips each night. He also switches between buses or takes the train, although the latter is more dangerous due to the risk of robbery. He assured me not to worry because he has survival skills. I left him laughing and talking to another man on the street. In fact, he knew how to beat the streets. 

Grand Central, NYC, Oct 2023

Porth Authority, NYC, Nov 2023

Times Square, NYC, Nov 2023

Park Avenue/17th Steet , NYC, Dec 2023

Union Square , NYC, Dec 2023


The idea for this project came to light while walking around the city and being confronted with the increasing number of homeless people, especially after the pandemics. More than that, seeing a poster about homelessness in New York and upon further investigation, a BOMBAS study revealed that 61% of New York City homeless shelter residents are families with children, highlighting that homelessness is not always what it seems. For more information about homelessness, visit and you'll find touching stories and studies.


Now, volunteering her efforts, Luisa embarks on a collaboration with Broadway Community, a longstanding local organization dedicated to aiding New Yorkers facing homelessness, hunger, and poverty for over 40 years. Together with Isaac Adlerstein, Broadway Community's Executive Director, they plan to launch a workshop specifically designed for individuals experiencing homelessness. This program aims to empower participants by nurturing their crafting abilities, enabling them to produce practical and artistic creations.

If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or supporting the Broadway Community organization, there are several ways to get involved. Simply contact them through their volunteer programs. For more information, please visit

Even small contributions can make a big difference in someone's life.

Full disclosure: All images and stories were collected from homeless individuals who gave permission for their use. Some individuals declined to speak or accept gifts.

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