Entering the Oficina da Formiga atelier is like taking a voyage back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Northern Portugal was abundantly producing utilitarian ceramic pieces. Founded in 1992, by artisan Jorge Saraiva and his wife Milú, with the help of ceramic Master Flamínio dos Reis, the aim was to preserve this local craft that was rapidly disappearing from family environments. To keep traditional designs alive, the couple actively researched Portuguese tiles and earthenware in private homes, antiques shops, flea markets, books and museums.
Each bowl, plate and jug is shaped, glazed and fired respecting 19th century techniques. Natural elements such as the sea, earth, air, with fishes, birds and flowers are painted by hand in bright blue, green, rose, brown or yellow. Some of the patterns are unsigned folk designs that are more than 100 years old. Today, Jorge and Milú are pleased to see the growing recognition of a younger international generation, appreciative of having vintage handmade ceramics placed on their table.