Terceira Local Artists Studio Tour

Friday I had the opportunity to go on an all day trip to visit local artists in their studios and see some of the traditional crafts of the island. To begin with I was exhausted since I teach from midnight to 1am and it was the first night of a new term, so I was a wee bit excited Thursday night. This trip was offered though the arts & crafts center here, so I headed there to start my day. I did not know anyone since I have only met a few people here so far. I was hoping this trip would help me to find some new friends since I knew we would at least have one thing in common, enjoying crafts and other art works.

The first place we stopped was an embroidery shop. They had napkins, table runners, wine bottle labels, wall hangings, and a variety of religious items. They are extremely Catholic here. The other item I thought was neat were the flags for the different villages. At this point in time I was still sleepy and barely able to stay up straight, but I did manage to remember the location so I can go back another time. Next the trip organizer took us all to a cafe for some coffee. I am not a fan of coffee. In fact I hate it, but the thought of caffeine was was enough to make me order a drink that I find similar to a cappucino. At this point I did meet a few people and was really enjoying the conversations with them.
Back into the van. This time we headed to the industrial area, which I thought was odd. Thinking about it now, I guess it does make sense to have a ceramic "factory" in an industrial area. This place was really neat. I have seen many of these souveniers around town (mugs, espresso cups, and tiles), but this was where they were being produced. This is a photo of a large tile wall hanging that is in the process of being started. The photo or design has been transferred to the tiles, and then they can be painted.

Here is a close up of the scene. I suppose this was a specialty piece that a family wants for their home. Many people have 4-6 tile signs announcing the house with the family name. This one is much larger. I also think some of these are framed and used inside as art.

Here is another tile painting, also not yet painted and glazed, but does have the drawing on it. This is much smaller. You can see one of those 6 tile signs I was mentioning. The shop owner took this one out to display for us.
Here one of the artists is cutting out decals that contain a map of the island. They will be transferred and then provide the outline for the painting. I know these are going on the small espresso cup since I have seen this design many times on the small cups in little shops around town. The idea with this decal is similar to a temporary tattoo. She will use water to make the design transfer to the intended item.
Last we have the store itself that is located in the front. Most visitors only make it this far, but we were on a tour and they were happy to show us around. In this store they sold tiles, paintings made from multiple tiles, mugs and espresso cups. I bought a set of four espresso cups in an amazing shade of torquoise. They say Azores (except in Portugese, so the z is a c with the little line coming of the bottom...my computer is not cool enough to make this letter) with hydrangeas in place of the 'O'. They had many nice things here and I am sure I will go back to purchase more.
Next stop was an aromatherapy shop where they do massage and reflexology. The prices are very reasonable for a 1 1/2 hr massage, so I think I will go back.
They also sold handmade soaps, books (in Portugese only), incense and candle holders.
The next stop was in Porto Judeu. This shop had many different items and I am not sure how many were actually made at this location. There were fused glass pieces, crocheted handbags (which I purchased), embossed metal pieces, and some other little knick-knacks. The photo here shows some really cool fused glass pieces. These are candle holders. They act as trays and those here will hold a candle with a large diameter. I really liked some of these designs and colors. I know I will purchase some of these pieces before we leave.
After that shop it was time to stop for lunch. Since we were driving along the coast, I was pleased to find that the restaurant they picked for use was right on the water. You can't beat a meal with a view like this.
Someone on the tour ordered this dish. This was a shrimp dish prepared in a clay tile. There are also potatoes to accompany the shrimp and it looked like a creamy sauce. This comes in a portion for 1 or 2 people. I think this looks like enough for 2, but I honestly think this was the portion for one. I think that baking the food in a clay tile is a traditional meal preparation technique used on the island, but I have not yet tried anything prepared this way.
Here is my lunch. This is the grilled seabass served with salad and potatoes. It was very good. Very few bones. The person next to me ordered the fish of the day, and although the head was removed, it still had all of the bones inside.
After lunch we went to Angra to see a pottery shop. You can see that this was different from the first ceramic shop we visited. These were terra cotta pieces. They had water jugs, little bells, vases and pots for plants. Most pieces were unpainted, but I did find a section with some neat painting on them. It was a single color swirled with white. Some used black, some purple and some red pieces too. This is another shop I hope to go back to.
Our last stop of the day was another studio for fused glass. The pieces were very similar to those I have pictured above. This artist was very generous. She did give discounts, but she also baked us an orange flavored cake and served coffee and tea. It was a nice way to end the day. I now have more of an appreciation for the local artists and their native crafts. I can't wait to see more of what this island has to offer.
QUESTION TIME: Do you have a favorite local craft where you live?

1 comment:

kristen :) said...

what a great tour! wow, that kind of stuff is just so neat. Do they have classes? Your lunch looked yummy too. I like the idea of baking in clay I bet it gives it a wonderful texture.
I don't think we have a local craft? maybe eating at millions of restaurants or buffets? haha I think I would have tried to eat out a lot in Vegas too, there are some really great places. We like to try to find the local places.
Dr. Kruskall is teaching the sports nutrition class, thanks for all your great suggestions, I really appreciate it :) I'm hoping she'll be my chair for my committee, I need to figure out what the heck I'm doing for my thesis and I haven't a clue!

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