There are many wonderful artisans working as part of the Manos del Uruguay cooperatives. Today we would like to share with you an interview with Patricia Peralta who works in the technical department of felt. The original interview was first published on the Manos del Uruguay blog.
What is your current role in Manos del Uruguay?
I am currently working in the Central (Montevideo) cooperative. Working with the design team, we generate ideas to make felt and manufacturing developments. I try to simplify the new designs as much as possible, so that later, when it goes into production, the design does not lose the quality that is a priority for Manos.
When did you join the organization?
I joined Manos in March 1991. I worked a while, then I left for personal reasons and returned in 2004 because they needed people for a very large export. Then I left for a time to work for the harvest. In May 2006 I was hired. A group of four women were assembled to learn a new technique with felt that was implemented in Manos. It was a challenge for my cooperative, to acquire an ancient craft, which is now the rage in international fashion. The cooperative continues this activity, making producs that are then sold on the premises.
What was it that attracted you to Manos del Uruguay?
What attracted me to Manos at the time was the opportunity to work. I was asked for a commitment to the work, to be responsible and to do things with quality. When I started working, I had three sisters, one who was part of the Council. I liked to see them because they wore hand knitting work home, and I always liked the craft.
What were you doing when you started?
When I started, I trained with artisan Lilian Muniz. She taught me to operate the machines, to knit jersey, intarsia, all in children’s garments. After I learned I could start working for production.
What other jobs have you held?
I performed other tasks as finishing, clothing, crochet, embroidery, all the crafts that are used in Manos. Being in Central I have learned to work the loom, not much, but the basics to help make samples.
What tasks do you do now?
Now I work in felt, this magic craft. In each project I find myself doing more and more of what is possible with wool, moisture, heat and love in the kneading. In this craft it happens that I can turn on my creativity and imagination. It’s a challenge. Every day always comes with something new. It’s good.
Of all the tasks in Manos, which one do you like best?
I actually like doing all the crafts, I do not think one is better than another. I always try to put my best in everything I do to make things better and better myself. I work hard because what I do today, the cooperatives will produce in the future and all the products are sold in the market or are often exported.
What has Manos del Uruguay given you?
Manos has given me great satisfaction, I have learned a lot. I have the opportunity to work at the plant to develop my creativity and grow as a person. I love working in Central in Montevideo.