EWI graduate and entrepreneur who enjoys her very own fan base among our clients, had been busy preparing night and day for EWI’s  Holiday Gift Marketplace that was held in November. Her intense preparation for the event came at surprise to many of us at EWI, as Velma has been facing health challenges in the past few months. But she was convinced that not even a health scare could sway her from doing what she loves most, making her signature aprons and creating a new line of colorful and polka dotted clothing’s for little girls.

As usual, her new creations have captured the attention and admiration of those around her. She recently dropped by our office to do a photo shoot of her new creations with our volunteer professional photographer, Ernesto Rivera and the result was captivating enough that it looked more like a glimpse into our most colorful dreams rather than ensembles for our kitchen antics or apparel for our fashionista little girls.

We asked both Velma and Ernesto on their experience working with each other and the response were filled with positive words, mutual respect and great admiration for each other.

velma-apron-blogHere’s what Velma had to say:

“Before leaving on my road trip Ernesto did a photo shoot for me of my aprons on a clothesline.  For a long time I’d envisioned how my aprons would look flowing in the wind on a clothesline, it seemed they needed to be exhibited in their natural environment.  I shared the idea with Ernesto and asked if he could make it happen. He became excited about it and agreed. While visiting my brother’s house I rediscovered his beautiful roomy backyard and realized it was the perfect spot for the look I wanted for my aprons.

I searched high and low and asked around if anyone knew of anyone that had a clothesline we could use for the shoot. I preceded to go online and purchase a clothesline to stand upright and that would be strong enough to hold several aprons at once. I found a  great clothesline online for $75, and received it in time for the shoot.

Apron 8

I met Ernesto at my brother’s house.  Little did I know he’d come prepared as well.  He bought 3 wooden long sticks and string and he made a clothesline strong enough (with a little manual help of hold the pole in the middle so it would not fall) to hold the aprons.  After the shooting he told me to send the clothesline back and get my money back. The shoot was a success!!!  I shared with him how his simple tools of 3  sticks and a string to conquer a major project, reminded me of the major project young King David (the Bibical king son of Jessie) had to conquer in slaying the giant with three smooth stones and a sling shot. How amazing, and the pictures turned out great! ERNESTO IS THE BEST!!!

ernesto-riveraHere’s what Ernesto had this to say:

“I have worked with EWI for approximately two years, which marks the official beginning of my professional career as a photographer and videographer.  I have worked with several of the students and alumni of EWI and I continue to do so.  One of those is Velma Crawford with whom I have worked together in a couple of occasions photographing her creations.

I don’t know where Velma gets the energy and the creativity, both of which are in full display when I worked with her.  She makes these marvelous, truly amazing aprons, and on one occasion she wanted pictures of those aprons flowing in the wind from a clothesline.  It is there where I got a glimpse of the source of her creativity, a source rooted in her earlier days in the south where it was more common to find clotheslines to dry laundry (I may add that the appointed day was cloudy and I had envisioned a blue sky as a backdrop so had to resort to a bit of trickery by shooting a pictures of a blue sky and then super-imposing Velma’s pictures on it.  And Velma, you should be happy to hear that the sticks have been re-purposed and now they are part of an in-progress fruit dryer box).

During the last photo-shoot she even had me trying an apron she has designed for those men, who like me, love to intrude in the kitchen from time to time. I am honored to be called to help at EWI and I have made the commitment that no matter how busy I get in this my second career – and I have been blessedly busy lately –  I will always make time for EWI.”

 Apron 2


Their work represents a collaboration of two like-minded people with artistic and visionary touch, evoking a can-do attitude for others who might want to follow in their footsteps at EWI and beyond.  Hailing from two different professions but overflowing with creativity and a common purpose, they were able to amaze all of us here at EWI, strengthening our conviction that teamwork coupled with fortitude can work wonders and eventually lead us to do greater things and provide services for women who come to us equipped with skills, talents, strengths and most of all dreams.

By Hanna Yamir, Development Associate

Photos by Ernesto Rivera

A Creative Collaboration: Velma & Ernesto
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