Rancho artists host holiday boutique

Jasmin Amador turned one of her magnificent paintings into striking t-shirts and sweatshirts. Beatriz Ibarra spent an entire year making dozens of specialty holiday items from colorful fabrics. Lydia Chavez made ceramic Santas and angels. And Danny Torres combined plants, small buildings and tiny people into irresistible mixed-media sculptures. These were just some of the thousands of items on display and for sale at the Art and Crafts of Rancho Holiday Boutique, which was held last week at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

The items were all made by patients of the world-renowned hospital. I addition to the artworks of more than 20 individual artisans and crafters, the boutique featured items created by patients at Rancho's Wellness Center and Restorative Garden.

"We are in awe of the breadth of beauty that filled our Support Services Annex building this week," said Rancho Director of Volunteer Services Debbie Tomlinson, who chaired the event that was sponsored by the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation. "The quality and quantity of work was simply amazing, and we are all so proud of the hard work and talent our patients put forth to make this event so successful."

Rancho CEO Jorge Orozco was similarly impressed.

"Our patients have again demonstrated to the world that they are finding every bit of ability and creativity they can muster and focusing it to bring forth an absolutely incredible array of spectacularly beautiful items," he said. "I salute every one of our Arts and Crafts of Rancho participants for inspiring us yet again and for showing their fellow patients what can be accomplished after a disabling illness or injury."

The patient creations included dazzling jewelry, holiday ornaments, hand-painted ceramics, greeting cards, plants and flowers and dozens of other types of arts and crafts. There were also special musical performances by several groups, including holiday caroling from singers from the Performing Arts of Rancho program.

Hundreds of artworks were purchased by community members and Rancho employees and volunteers, making this one of the most successful arts and crafts shows in a Rancho tradition that dates back to wooden covered wagons built by the original "Rancho Crafters" more than 75 years ago.

Supervisor Don Knabe made a special trip to Rancho to see the show.

"I am so proud of our patients, because we all know how difficult it has been for them to overcome the significant challenges in their lives," he said. "I congratulate the participants for the courage, hard work and the creative genius they put into each and every piece they designed for this inspirational show. What a great way to kick off the holiday season at Rancho!"

"I was really excited to see all the beautiful work everyone did for this event," Danny said. "I am honored to be part of something that brings out the very best in all of us. I can hardly wait to see what everyone will come up with for the next arts and crafts show!"