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©Isabel Martins
©Isabel Martins
©Passa Ao Futuro
©All rights reserved
©Passa Ao Futuro

Isabel Martins

  • Basketweaver
  • Malcata, Portugal
  • Master Artisan
Isabel Martins Basketweaver
©All rights reserved

New beginnings

  • • Isabel discovered the art of “bracejo” during a workshop
  • • She made a career change to follow a new path
  • • She embraced the unknown to acquire an artistic skill

Isabel Martins opened her studio Brace’Arte in 2019 in Malcata, a town in the centre of Portugal. The soft-spoken 62 year old courageously left an administration job without a plan, only certain that she needed a change. She enrolled in a basket weaving craft workshop, which instantly sparked her interest. She learned the traditional techniques from one of the few local basketweavers, and later felt confident to create more modern shapes. Her pieces can be found at craft fairs or online. Her participation as a master artisan in the Portuguese basket technology Summer School, launched by Michelangelo Foundation in partnership with the Portuguese Ministry of Culture in 2019, confirms it was worth seeking a new beginning.

Read the full interview


  • ©Isabel Martins
  • ©Isabel Martins
  • ©Isabel Martins
  • ©Isabel Martins
  • ©Isabel Martins
Photo: ©Isabel Martins

Queijeira is normally used to store cheese, cakes and bread. Isabel thought about the malcata cheese, which has a very intense and characteristic smell when creating this woven basket and conceived it in a way that would contain the smell.

Height 8 cm
Diameter 22 cm

Photo: ©Isabel Martins

These beautiful bags were handcrafted in knitted cotton and weaved “bracejo”, a type of plant commonly named Golden Oats in English. The idea emerged from Isabel’s own old summer bags.

Height 52 cm
Diameter 29 cm

Photo: ©Isabel Martins
Beach bag

These kind of bags are traditionally used in summer as a shopping basket or a beach bag. It was beautifully weaved in “bracejo” and lined with knitted cotton.

Length 40 cm
Width 26 cm
Height 25 cm

Photo: ©Isabel Martins

This pot was created as an ornament or as a storage basket. It was handcrafted in weaved “bracejo”, wool and cotton.

Height 55 cm
Length 32 cm

Photo: ©Isabel Martins
Fruteiras & Vassouras

The sweeping brooms are an adaptation of the traditional ones used to sweep the fireplace back in the old days. The plates are traditionally used for fruit or flowers, or as decoration.

Height 9 cm
Diameter 40 cm
Height 8.5 cm
Diameter 49 cm

Enjoy an experience with Isabel Martins

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