SOFIA CALVO/ THE DESIGNER FORM PERU.11 min read
In April 2020, INDECOPI (National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property), invited all designers-inventors to create products that help protect and combat the Covid-19 pandemic. So, I decided to participate in my “Corocover” project, which consists of protecting clients from beauty and aesthetic salons from the Coronavirus. On June 10, I received an email congratulating me that my design was one of those chosen to be patentable. (For now, I will not be able to give more details because the patent is in registration).
This is my Life !
My name is Sofía Calvo. I am a lawyer and designer, also a widow. I live in the city of Lima, Peru. I was born in a port city in the north of my country. We are eight siblings. One thing you must know is that since I was little, I was fascinated by Art. I remember that at the age of five I made my first design, a photo frame made of ice cream sticks, rubber and colours, it was for my maternal grandfather, on which I obviously put his photo.
I clearly remember one autumn afternoon at school, I was seven years old and they told me I had won a design contest! I was more than happy. The idea was to create the best picture with natural products being inspired by love. I didn’t think much about it, love already existed in my life and it was my grandfather. I still remember his words and his everlasting hugs that accompanied my sweet childhood and part of my adolescence.
When I was eleven years old my life changed completely. My family and I had to move to the city of Huaraz, eight hours away by bus, away from my grandfather’s home. The day we left; my grandfather rushed to the bus station to say goodbye. My pain was immense, and the only thing I could do was to hug his neck tightly hoping moment would last forever. I repeated to him over and over that I would never forget him. Out of a sudden, my grandfather took out from his coat pocket a red-painted paper Mache heart that I had made for him long ago. I still remember his face telling me:
„I always carry your heart with me, my girl´s heart, forever.”
I wish that moment had never ended! I still keep that heart with me as well as his presence in my life too.The journey seemed extremely long to me; tears kept falling until I got to sleep. I dreamed that I was with my grandfather, he dried my tears as we walked and looked at the vast sea, until the noise of the waves woke me up (which was the noise made by the bus every time it stopped). While looking through the bus window, I saw for the first time the beautiful and imposing snow-peak mountains: “Huascaran and Hualcan”, which rose together with green fields where wild horses ran, and then, I thought of this new beginning in this new place, and I said to myself: “ This is wonderful, only Grandpa is missing”!
Life passed slowly, Christmases were filled with fog and intense cold.
„Fe y Alegría” was the name of the school I attended in Huaraz, which was run by the religious Missionary Mercedaries. I always remember it with deep affection, especially having had religion classes with the religious sister Gloria, who taught me to get closer to God and neighbour!
Four years had passed when one Sunday after leaving the church, my dear mother said to me that Grandparents would come live with us the following year; I couldn’t believe my ears! I was very happy, but I knew I was no longer the child who had said goodbye at the bus station; I was now 15 years old! During that year of waiting for them to arrive, I designed and knitted a sweater for my grandpa using his favourite colours: blue and grey; after that, I decided to knit a beautiful scarf but deep down, I had mixed feelings that made me dream of having him already and at the same time cry because he still wasn’t there with me.
The day I was looking forward to, finally arrived. Although it was an ugly, rainy winter day, I was very excited. Inside the bus station, I saw some people before my grandfather appeared, a few minutes later I saw him get off the bus, but he was no longer the same, time had taken part of his life and strength, his hair was white and his walking was slow. I ran towards him as I used to when I was a child, happy to receive his hugs again, and I told myself I would never change them for anything in the world and from that day on, we never separated again. Months and years passed, to the rhythm of his stories, tales, caresses, while I had fun designing clothes for my grandfather. Being with him, my sadness and tears left, and happiness came my home. But It didn’t last long, when I was 18, my grandfather died in my arms one June morning.
While crying on his chest I felt something in the pocket of his coat, to my surprise it was the red-painted paper Mache heart that I had made for him when I was a child, he had always carried it with him. Once, my grandmother told he had always asked her to put the paper Mache in his pocket. Over time, I managed to restore the paper Mache heart and I still have it with me.
This was one of the hardest moments I would suffer throughout my life.
Three months later, my grandma and I decided to tidy my grandfather’s belongings. We were able to open a trunk where he had kept all his treasures. Mainly, we found things related to my childhood, parts of my life I had completely forgotten: some of my old designs, photos, drawings, books, a lock of my black hair, a calendar that was marked each day we were separated, a sweater, a scarf, old broken snails where we used to listen to the sound of the sea in them. I took one snail trying to listen to the sea but instead I heard my grandpa´s voice telling me: “don’t cry, everything will be fine, I love you”. My eyes intermingled with pain and tears, my thoughts began to fly like-colored butterflies, a childhood scent, and my memories were filled with a heart-breaking cry. Although I was young, I had enormous strength that my grandfather had transmitted me throughout my life and it helped me a lot for what I would become later.
Years passed; I started writing poetry in the „House of the Poet” in city of Huaraz. I spent my life between college, poetry, design, and violin lessons. One day at the violin lesson, I interrupted the class to ask: “Teacher, why do I hear the violin cry?”, and the teacher answered me: “the violin does not cry, the one who cries is you”. So, I touched my cheeks and realised that the tears were falling uncontrollably!
Oh! How I missed Grandpa!
Sometime later, because there was no chance to study the design career I loved there, I finally studied Law and graduated as a lawyer and worked with my father in the city of Huaraz.
Time passed quickly, a beautiful day full of sunshine and fresh air, I met the person who would be the man of my life, my beloved husband. I think it was a gift from heaven. God had reserved me the most wonderful being I could have ever known. He was a noble soul of beautiful feelings with a big heart, with me and everybody. He gave me the tenderness and love that I needed.
We were not able to have children; it was painful for a while but we got over it. Later, we both understood that there were a lot of children and that they were in shelters for kids without parents, looking forward to receiving the visit of people like us, so we started visiting them!
During our marriage, we had the opportunity to travel to several countries and enjoy their cultures, we were both fascinated by museums, art, opera, and history. I was immensely happy.
The following year another terrible event would occur in my life, my husband would die in a clinic bed from aggressive cancer. I felt faint with pain over and over again. I remember what he said to me before passing away: „Sofi, I want you to be happy again as you were with me, I want you to continue smiling”. At that moment, it was impossible to think of that, sadness invaded my soul.
Something amazing it happened too, was that I was able to study what I had always wanted: Product Design in Lima. In 2015, when I was still a student, I won a contest organized by Electro Lux Design Lab, I got second place worldwide with the “Sphera Magic” Project, which consisted of a spherical device where the child could blow and see the degree of allergies he/she had, with nanotechnology, facial recognition sensors, holograms, and artificial intelligence.
I won a contest organized
Electro Lux Design Lab,
I got second place worldwide with
the “Sphera Magic” Project,
that consisted of a spherical device where the child could blow and see the degree of allergies he/she had, with nanotechnology,
facial recognition sensors,
holograms, and artificial intelligence.
The following month, I received an email congratulating me because my design was among the finalists in Peru to compete in South America. The project was „Girax Tray” and it consisted of a tray for food with renewable technology, a solar charger that sick people could use to feed themselves by turning the base of the dishes, and they could also read their emails on a Tablet and charge their cell phones. It was made for clinics and hospitals.
In 2017, the day of my graduation, so awaited by my husband who was no longer with me, arrived. At the ceremony, I asked that there be an empty chair in front of me, because I knew he would be there, I even saw him looking and smiling at me. My heart knew it! In the middle of the year 2017, I competed with another design, that time I had to make a banner:
No more lives lost,” in the memory of the Holocaust and World War II.
The project was led by Yad Vashem and the United Nations Extension Program (UN). I was a finalist in Peru for the worldwide contest. From that precise moment, I understood that God had me in his plans and that HE had set his eyes on me. (Psalms 119: 32-35) (Psalms 119: 48-50).
In October of 2018, my mother’s soul rose to heaven and sadness and tears took place in our family. (Psalms 119: 81-83)
In November 2018, I founded “Markku’s Design Company”.
https://markkusdesign.com/ that works with the 3Rs of ecology. The first product to go on sale was an earthquake backpack, with a plurality of pockets and connection for the cell phone or/and battery cable.
In 2019, on one of my trips to the city of Huaraz, I visited small communities and contributed to low-income mothers, giving them for free, some designs for their workshops, which generated extra money for them, as a result of the sale of the designs on looms and ceramics.
One of those days, when I was in the city of Huaraz, I saw the religious sister Gloria again, the religion teacher of my childhood at school, she told me that she visited the “Víctor Pérez Liendo” prison and helped with books and donations for the interns, she asked me to help her with the workshops inside the prison. I accepted with deep love!
Company cell number: +51 934 462 060
Facebook: Markku’s Design
Entering the prison with Sister Gloria was to find a totally different world from the one I knew. We were surrounded by more than 60 inmates per ward, and in each workshop, there were at least 50 people.
The first time I was with them, everything went silent and I said: „Brothers, I am here in the prison by the will of God, I understand that you suffer inside the prison and I suffer outside, my pain calms down when I see your sufferings and your needs, so I realize that your pain becomes a priority in my life”. (Psalms 119: 54-55). “We will work with all the waste that you generate, such as: sawdust, pieces of wood, stationery, bones, bull’s horn, cardboard,and fruit peels. We will build beds for you to sleep better, we will make biodegradable flowerpots, compost for your plants,and a bio-garden where you can plant medicinal plants, and we will also make necklaces, bracelets, earrings,and board games. Christmas is coming and we will create utilitarian products, you will have the opportunity to use all the art you know and I will help you with the designs and sale of your products.”
When I gave God priority in my life, everything began to change. God takes me higher and I remain more on my knees, so I find myself before His presence. (Psalms 119: 71-72).
The next day, I returned to the prison with the religious sister Gloria to teach the inmates how to work with recycled materials and new designs. At noon, the first shipment of stationery arrived, donated by two schools; both the prison director and the police were very excited about everything that was happening, even smiling. After seven days, the prison inmates were able to complete their designs and product work. And I managed to sell each of the products made by the inmates. So, feeling happy, I said to myself: “now they will have a very different Christmas”.I returned to the city of Lima with my heart thankful to God. (Psalms 119: 1-8).
In April 2020, INDECOPI (National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property), invited all designers-inventors to create products that help protect and combat the Covid-19 pandemic. So, I decided to participate with my “Corocover” project, which consists of protecting clients from beauty and aesthetic salons from the Coronavirus. On June 10, I received an email congratulating me that my design was one of those chosen to be patentable. (For now, I will not be able to give more details because the patent is in registration).
Now, I have a new dream and that is to build a home for cancer patients and their families who accompany them to their treatments. In Peru, we only have one hospital for cancer patients, called INEN (National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases), which treats a lot of people with low economic resources. A large number of patients have to come from different parts of the country and unfortunately some have no place to stay in the city.
One night, I walked out of my house and went to the hospital. What I saw inside was terrible, witnessing so much pain made my heart fall apart. There were a lot of people sleeping on the ground, in the rain, covered by cardboard. Both patients and companions were there waiting for daylight to be able to make an appointment to be treated. It is difficult to describe all the anguish I felt at that time, so much pain and forgetfulness.
Maybe, one day I will find more generous, kind-hearted, supportive,and charitable people on my way, who will help me make this dream come true, and so, together, we can continue to change this world, and that when we die, we will leave it much better than we found it!
Matthew 22: 37-39
Saint John 14: 6
Saint John 3:16
THANK YOU DRAR SOFIA FOR SHARING YOUR BEAUTIFUL LIFESORY WITH THE MAGAZINE DESIGNER JULY 2020/ STOCKHOLM.
The Editor Halina Rosa.