Travel

Azorean Artisans: Getting Crafty with Ceramics

Hi everyone! This post in continuation of my full coverage of my trip to the Açores, the group of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic. Check out my other posts about the Açores here.


The Açores has so much to offer. With its natural beauty, adventurous waters, and incredible landscapes, there are endless possibilities. When I asked Victor’s parents what they thought about the Açores, they said it was like stepping back in time. And in some ways, it is true. The Açores have moved at a slower pace than mainland Portugal and this has made the islands truly unique.

Açores Ceramics 8Açores Ceramics 3During my time there I searched high and low for local products and services. From freshly made bread delivered at 5am to milking cows at a local farm, it is amazing how accessible the local market is. My dream is to find a way for the Açores to grow and develop while staying true its local artisans and farmers. One such local commodity that still exists is ceramics.

Açores Ceramics 6Açores Ceramics 2Lagoa, a town 12km east from Ponta Delgada, is the home of one of the last ceramic manufacturers on the islands. Family-owned since 1862, one can visit Cerâmica Vieira and see the artisans painstakingly honing their craft, as well as treat oneself to a variety of finished products at the studio’s store in front. The factory has turned into a museum of sorts, and so you can learn all about the process.

Açores Ceramics 7Açores Ceramics 5The pottery industry is one of the oldest on São Miguel. At the end of the 15th century Azoreans were using their own island-made pottery. The pottery had Moorish and Spanish influences, as the methods and forms used in the production of these pieces were very similar to the ones used in the potteries of Valencia, Spain and Paderna, Italy.

Tile and brick is manufactured elsewhere, however the factory still produces hand painted tiles and dishware. The result? Absolutely beautiful pieces of art. Victor’s parents bought an espresso set, and my mother had a sign personalised for our summer home. These are timeless pieces, so do not miss this stop!

Açores Ceramics 4Açores Ceramics 1


Next up is a visit to one of the most unique spots on the island of São Miguel, a hot spring in the ocean!

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