Monday, April 6, 2020
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Arts and Crafts

Being an artisan is a profession with a future

Clay, palm, reed, wicker, cork, wood and flax, words of the earth which speak of the roots of a people and which can transform lives. They increase the value of our lives. The arts are dying, but there are still people who work together so that this heart continues to beat. This is what is behind the TASA Project (Ancestral Techniques, Current Solutions)! Designers, marketeers and artisans work for a common good: handicrafts. But the piece of craftwork is far removed from its ornamental or mass-produced role and is transformed into an aesthetically pleasing object for everyday use. Being an …

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Shoemaking – Waldviertler apprentice campaign

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A valuable investment

Zé Pedro Mira | Shoemaker‘s Apprentice José Pedro Luís Mira Nunes (aged 23) was raised in a family of artisans. His creative side was stimulated from a very early age through handicraft, drawing and painting and, although his educational background was in Science, he always dedicated his spare time to creative activities, based mainly on what nature had to offer. His family have been engaged in the art of making shoes by hand in Monchique since the nineteenth century. Everything started with his great-great-grandfather, José Francisco, who handed the trade on to his son, José Andrés Mira, his great-grandfather, who …

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João Lourenço

The Algarve’s last tinsmith Seventy-seven-year-old João Lourenço is the last tinsmith working in the south of the country. The business brings in next to nothing, but Ti João, as he is known, keeps working with the determination he expresses in his words: “I was born on top of tins and I want to die clutching them,” he says with satisfaction. It’s many a year since the craft of the tinsmith sustained the whole family. Since the 1970s and 80s, with the appearance of plastic and derived products, everything has changed. “Before there was enough for everyone, I had five brothers, …

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Nuno Duarte

Living from my music For Nuno Duarte (aged 27) from Monchique, the accordion has been an ever-present musical instrument since his childhood. Today he uses it to earn much of the livelihood for his family of four. Making music was always his dream. When ECO123 asked him about the WHY, he stressed that it filled his soul with joy, put him in a calm mood and at the end of the day was an important source of his own happiness. To the question about the future of his profession, he said: “I don’t know how my craft will develop, but …

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Sara Pignatelli

Fashion Production Manager\Designer Let’s be the generation that made a difference! The António Arroio Artistic Secondary School provided the creative foundation and set the course for her later career, giving her the inspiration for her current vocation. When she was 16, she was introduced to the techniques of weaving, felting, crochet, embroidery, printing and dyeing. Then she moved on to pottery, jewellery making, the production of prints, audiovisual techniques and product design. In 2003, she passed her school leaving exams with above-average marks. Two years later, after a short orientation phase, she went to St Martin’s College of Art & …

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sapateiros de monchique

Let’s keep the memory alive!

In the upland town of Monchique, there are just three shoemakers, with a combined age of 240. They are the only ones to have survived the invasion of cheap footwear. These shoe craftsmen know how leather behaves, the stitches that are needed in the soles, they are the only ones who know how to fit heels and to transform old shoes into new. The weight of the years is discernible in each of them, but they all continue to exercise their profession in whatever way they can, because they are passionate about their art. These shoemakers have dedicated their whole …

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Hands that restore lost beauty.

I have known Master Figueiras ever since my youth, some five decades ago, in his minuscule workshop. I loved seeing him build and repair pieces with such unhurried patience. Still today, whenever I pass by his door on Rua Nova in Portimão, I stop in for a quick chat. He has done restoration work for the rich and famous and made friends with artists and intellectuals. However, out of his own modesty, he only says: “I made friends with many people over the course of my life”. ECO123 – Master Figueiras, how did you get into this profession? Master Figueiras …

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A life with the sea on the horizon

‘Mestre de terra’ * Joaquim Carneiro welcomed ECO123 to the warehouse where he practises his profession at the premises of Docapesca (1) by the river Arade and close to the town of Parchal (municipality of Lagoa). Nearly 84, master Joaquim still works every day, seated among kilometres of fishing nets which he mends with enviable skill and vigour. His discourse is frequently inflamed with the passion of those who still argue for what they believe in and who believe in a better future. Such as when he defends the indispensable practice of the closed season to protect species, or when …

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