• Carrin Robertson

Design: Human-Created Design & The Organic Design Process

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

Human-created design is a creative collaboration between designers and artisans. Collaborative creation has for centuries defined the way in which we have made clothes, accessories and adornments. It has many benefits including the preservation of culture, sharing skills and the empowerment of people working together. In Guatemala, the history and culture of weaving is testament to this, its a slow and intricate process. By supporting fair-trade brands, artisans can keep this culture alive.

One of the things that has been how UPAVIM started and continues to grow is through an organic process, sample products are made by two very talented women- Sonia Reyes and Mayra Aquino. Mayra naturally gravitates towards making products fo children as she is a mother to 7! It’s her forte, the ideas come to her and she has a great skill for colour combining- a natural designer with amazing seamstress skills. Sonia loves jewellery and isn’t scared to use technology, she looks for inspiration on pinterest and teaches herself on youtube tutorials. From these two women, and now myself as well- we teach the artisans how to produce the designs. We don’t weave, but we do buy fabrics from weavers which I would love to explore more, I feel that's my next step in Guatemala as that's where the tradition is rooted.

Selfie! Mayra and I at Patti Carpenter's Workshop back in March

Collaboration is at the core of creativity and what motivates people to do their very best work, expressing themselves freely and honing their own skills and talents. When I applied for the position of Designer at UPAVIM, it was because I saw an opportunity for growth in design trends. I am becoming more and more aware of the issues many of our artisans face which definitely affects self-confidence and the belief in themselves that they can learn how to produce new styles, or more complicated products.

So, we are in a transition period at UPAVIM, I’m trying to implement new syles and implement some changes, but it’s a slow process, I’ve planned a workshop to introuduce design skills, whilst encouraging our artisans to develop their own products- we’ll use what materials we currently have available to us and go from there. I'm aiming to do this towards the end of the year.

The two main things I’d love to see continue at UPAVIM are:

-The use of typical Guatemalan textiles. The textiles we currently use have been there for TWENTY YEARS. There are some gems, but there are others that could to be phased out in order to create space for the new. Guatemalan textiles are absolutely stunning, and intricately made- they are an extremely important part of the indiginous culture. This deserves several articles of its own. We currently don’t have lots of money to invest in an overhaul of fabrics, plus we don’t waste ANYTHING, so the current fabrics will be used for the time being.

-Organic design, but a little more refined. When artisans and designers create naturally and design from the heart and how they feel, for me is a very important thing that shouldn’t be interfered with too much. People who enjoy what the make and use natural creativity are more likely to succeed than sheep who make what they are told to. Dotting around inspiration boards from what is out there in the world is something I do, plus I assist with design with Mayra and Sonia, whilst also designing my own things- I feel its great to have the variety. Adding in skills-lead workshops will be a welcome addition too.

What is an Organic Design process to you?

Our New Children's Fabric

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