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Arts and Crafts

Carlota, the Acorn that dreamed of going to the moon

The children’s book that talks about the importance of the Cork Forest and the life cycle of cork.   Carlota, the Acorn that dreamed of going to the Moon is a book that portrays the adventures of an acorn who doesn’t understand the importance of her role, nor the role of the forest where she lives and longs for a different destiny to her fellow acorns. Unlike all the other acorns, she dreads letting go of her cork oak father’s sturdy branches and jumping to the ground, because she dreams of travelling to the sky, the stars and the moon! …

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Oxytocin or Le P’tit Cirk

How will it end? It’s the old motto: “trust is good, but control is better”. We are sitting in a small circus tent in Monchique, eagerly awaiting the performers. It’s dark and cosy. There are more than 500 people filling the tent tonight. There is still a quarter of an hour to go. In my mind, I’m thinking of a film about the acrobat Philippe Petit. He’s the man who, one day in August 1974, when I was a young man, I saw dancing whilst balancing on a high wire reaching more than 60 metres between the Twin Towers of …

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A life without fear

Adrienne Goehler has just brought out a new book, with the title “Sustainability requires economic deceleration, which requires a universal basic income”. This 350-page book published by Parthas is available for 18 euros. Its publication was made possible by the support of the Potsdam Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. It’s a book filled with ideas that cause us to reflect: about the connections between north and south, life, work and new experiences; as well as about the connections within the arts and sciences. The theme is multifaceted, so the book also features many different pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s …

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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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