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  • Carrin Robertson

UPAVIM Crafts: Introduction

UPAVIM has officially been my home for a week, and strangely it feels so much longer!

I should also probably explain what UPAVIM stands for, in English its “United for a Better Life". I work in what’s called Artesanias, or UPAVIM Crafts, and I’m a Designer- which always sounds weird as I never formally studied design, but that’s what I’ve been doing for a fair few years in a Jack of all Trades way (or what’s perhaps now accepted as the Multi-Hyphen Method thanks to Emma Gannon- read her book!)


Designing and making is what I love doing and so it doesn’t feel like work at all. Plus I get to look at all the FABRICS. Beautiful, patterned fabrics of joy- makes me a bit giddy.


I’ve dove straight in, my briefs so far are Christmas 2019 products, baby hats, packaging for little animal puppets, and any new range products I’d like to work on that I think will be saleable. So I’m straight into creating inspiration boards for homewares, accessories and women’s fashion- I think the fabrics are so stunning, that simple & clean designs will let the patterns do the talking.


I saw all the various departments, and a little introduction to what materials are available. All the women here have made me feel so welcome, they’re really warm and friendly people and work really hard all day plus are mamas and have large families to look after, so pretty much do two full-time jobs.




I’ve spent most of my first week in the department that deals with products that are made from fabrics, so its design, pattern cutting & sewing fabrication, and I’ll work my way around the others. Mayra and Doña Carmen head up this department, Mayra in Design and Doña Carmen in Pattern Cutting and putting together packs of fabric for the Artisans to take home and sew together. I spend most of the time with Mayra, she’s been working at UPAVIM for more than twenty years, she creates prototypes and is super talented. I can show her photos of something and draw a basic pattern, choose some fabrics, and she cuts it out and whips it up through the sewing machine- and we can modify it and play around with it between us.


It’s so great being to be hands-on with design and production again.


Mayra was saying she loves designing for children mostly- and the other day we made a baby hat. What’’s handy is that there is a nursery, kindergarten and school in the building, we can just pop down and try the hat out on a little one!








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