MÉRTOLA WEAVERS WELCOME JOANA VASCONCELOS
Fátima Mestre and Helena Rosa are artisans who keep the traditional practice of wool blankets alive. At the Mértola Weaving Workshop, they receive Joana Vasconcelos, a visual artist who frequently incorporates textile element in her contemporary creations. For a conversation promoted in the context of the Constellations of Futurama - cultural and artistic ecosystem of lower Alentejo - Saturday 30 July.
«On the last Saturday of each month, the Constellations take place, sessions that bring together contemporary artists and representatives of traditional practices from Baixo Alentejo. The sessions address topics such as orality, physicality and visuality, in relation to the Alentejo. The guests do not know each other, there is no defined script, we do not know what can happen and it is this expectation that motivates us to build an unrepeatable session.» As will certainly be the session that brings together the weavers Fátima Mestre and Helena Rosa alongside visual artist Joana Vasconcelos. The visual artist incorporates traditional techniques such as embroidery and crochet in her sculptures, finding inspiration in the delicate and ancient know-how of Viana do Castelo or Pico. She employs a group of artisans in her studio and has worked occasionally with professionals from Nisa (Valquíria Enxoval, 2009) or with the Manufactura de Tapeçarias de Portalegre (Vitrail, 2012).
«One of the oldest traditional arts in the region is certainly the weaving of woolen blankets. At the Mértola Weaving Workshop, where ongoing training is provided, a weavers' cooperative is responsible for making this tradition survive. The decorative motifs of these blankets resemble an ornamental grammar affiliated with ancient Berber traditions and which we also find printed on archaeological materials.
In the space of the workshop itself, there is an exhibition of old instruments linked to the activity of wool and linen, as well as an exhibition of fabrics made in the workshop and in the mountain villages of the municipality.
Currently, at the Mértola Weaving Workshop, the sound of the loom is the result of the skilled and knowledgeable hands of the weavers Helena Rosa and Fátima Mestre.» FUTURAMA