Facing Loulé’s municipal market, take the lane on the right hand side, past the much-photographed bronze fi gure of an old lady by Teresa Paulino, and a few shops down you will fi nd a small gallery, Collectivo 28, which is home to four uber-talented artisans who came together to share space and retail responsibilities, allowing each to have the time they need to focus on their crafts.
Manoli Ortiz de La Torre is a Spanish artist who lives in Salir and produces a stunning array of hand-printed fabrics, using locally-grown plants and leaves from trees. Pattern, colour and structure are her three priorities and the results are amazing in their many diff erences. At the gallery, Manoli shows clothing, bags, floaty scarves and table accessories.
José Machado Pires is the master ceramicist of the foursome, known for his bold pieces, fl ow of colours, and innovative shapes. Some pieces are small and intricate, little mugs with elaborate borders, others huge and demanding space to show off every curve.
Jewellery maker Silvia Rodrigues makes up the quartet. Her Amar Cássima© collection combines handcrafted newsprint with ancestral copper techniques and tells the story of Moor Cássima and a tumultuous period in the history of Loulé, during the control of the Moors and the conquest of the city in 1149.
The copper strips are long, straight and asymmetrical with sharp tips; while others embrace the coils of newsprint (the precious stones of this collection) just as the governor of Loulé embraced his three daughters and, wanting to protect them from captivity, left them enchanted in a fountain before fl eeing to Tangier.
The collection comprises three sets, each one dedicated to a particular sister: Lydia , Zara and Cássima.
Legend has it that Lydia and Zara were freed from the enchantment by a carpenter slave, using two breads brought from Tangier at the behest of the governor, that contained the key to disenchantment.
It is said that Cássima remains enchanted in the fountain because the bread was cut by the carpenter slave’s wife, annulling the magical powers to release her.