Portuguese crafts and designs

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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Magetica magazine gallery at Cidadela art district, showcasing knitted creations by Urostigre; Bottom right: Gosto D'Africa


One of the (many) reasons why I love Portugal is that it is immensely artistic. Art can be seen everywhere, from street art to azulejos in churches; and the Portuguese particularly excel in handicrafts, which has been passed down from its tradition. Designing and making things appear to be an innate trait of the Portuguese, and during my travel, I came across many beautiful locally-made crafts and designs that combine natural materials, traditional craftsmanship with a contemporary touch (or humour).

In Cascais, I stumbled upon a New year arts and crafts market on its last day near the seafront, and I had an interesting chat with the father and daughter team selling a colourful range of jewellery and fashion accessories inspired by African prints, motifs and patterns. I later learned that the designer behind the Lisbon-based Gosto D'Africa is in fact the wife of the vendor. After rummaging around the stall for a while, I eventually bought a scarf with African print on one side and fleece on the other for €14. A bargain for a handmade and unique item!

And while I was at Cidadela art district, I was enchanted by the knitted animal heads/hats display in one of the galleries/shops, Magetica magazine. Urostigre was founded by Lisbon-based artist and knitter Sónia Pessoa, who created an animal that is half bear (urso) and half tiger (tigre). She uses eco-friendly yarn for her fashion and accessory creations, which often features this imaginative 'bear tiger' animal. You can view her one of a kind creations above or via her website.


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Top left, 2nd & 3rd rows: Gente Da Minha Terra


In Evora, most of the handicrafts shops are concentrated on Rua 5 de Outubro before the Cathedral. There are souvenir shops selling fashion and home accessories made of local cork ( Portugal is well known for their cork designs), local wine and azulejos etc. One shop in particular stands out from the crowd, and it is Gente Da Minha Terra (no.39). Although the shop is not very big, it has a fantastic range of locally made contemporary crafts and design objects including stationery, woolen blankets, and even donkey milk soap wrapped in sheep's wool (see above)!



Top & 2nd rows: Associação Sócio Cultural Terapêutica de Évora; 3rd left: products made of cork; 3rd right: handmade pouch & phone cover


Another shop that caught my attention was A Mo on Rua Vasco da Gama 2. The shop itself resembles a kitchen, and so I was curious to find out what was inside when I walked past it.

Once inside, I was surrounded by wooden toys, kids' furniture and all sorts of cute and lovely handicrafts. I spoke to the lady in the shop and she explained to me that the shop is part of Associação Sócio Cultural Terapêutica de Évora, a private institution for Social Solidarity and it provides therapeutic activities for people with mental disability. The arts and crafts are made by the community in the institute's studios. And as a small gesture of supporting good cause, I eventually bought two handmade accessories as souvenir to give to my friends back home.


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 Traditional ceramics, tiles and textiles


Back in Lisbon, the newest and coolest crafts and designs shopping destination is Embaixada (which I will write more about in my future entry) in Principe Real. Here, you can find a wide range of contemporary crafts that are inspired by the traditional heritage and culture (including ceramic pasteis de nata for those who adores it). Further down the street, there is also Lisbonlovers, which sells crafts and designs that are inspired by the charming city.

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Top & 4th rows: Embaixada; 3rd row: Lisbonlovers


This post was posted in Shopping, Shopping guide, Travel, Traditional arts & crafts, Contemporary craft, azulejos, Design, Portugal, Portuguese design and was tagged with shopping, traditional crafts, contemporary crafts, azulejos, Portugal, portuguese design