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For many years I was working in the center
of Porto, restoring historical traditions
in ceramics and modernizing them.
But I always wanted to create not only sculptures but the space where artist could work and study, place where person from the street can enter to watch and talk, not just a studio or a store, but guild ("fazer compras").
My studio appeared to be such a place.

And of course I am still just a child who is playing with materials...

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I was born in Gondomar, a small place not far away.

And all my life I was working here in Porto. Also in the University I was studying art history and patrimony, so I know a little bit more than a usual citizen of the Porto.

My first studio was in the old city center near the Cathedral of Porto. The city was born here in the area around the cathedral.

So I got contact with people who were living around, and it was a beautiful experience, because I learned a lot. I met the culture of old Porto from the inside.


Porto traditionally was a town of studios and workshops. It was a very vivid, vital city, where the boats were coming, bringing materials and techniques. There were a lot of studious open, where people made things and sell them directly. And many streets still have the names of the professions. It was the soul of the city. The city of professionals.

I opened my first studio in 2003. At that moment it was a different city. Porto was hardly damaged. People abounded the center of the city, because buildings were so old, people didn’t like to live there, young people wanted to leave. That moment you could meet a very few number of tourists in August, less in July. And now tourists are here all the year!

Than the city began changing and I opened another studio also in the center in a very touristic place at R. de Ferreira Borges 63.

In my studio you can find what I call “story pieces”. Pieces that belongs to our culture and history: roasters, swallows, sardines. Things that are associated with Porto.

And another kind of work, is an artistic ceramic of my own. I am trying to develop a new free language. Like a dialog between me and the city, people, dreams and poetry. I don’t belong to any school and developed my own technique. I used to say I am “a child, who plays with the materials”.

My degree pushed me to find what represents our way of thinking. So I am making some statues of our popular saints, who are attached to some places around and seemed to be connected to the people of Northern Portugal from ancient times. Some of them were even pagan’s saints.

Also I like to work with the theme of fertility in woman. Ceramic is so connected to the earth. And from prehistoric times an image of woman, Venus, was a representative of Earth and fertility. In my studio you can find different sculptures of women with small children.

Most of the artists communicate with audience only in the end, when they exhibit their work or sell. But I like the communication during the process not only in the end. Sometimes people give me ideas and inspiration.

Artists from the Superior school of arts now don’t respect ceramics. They consider technique to be not noble. Still so much prejudices against the material.

Of course there are some limits because of the kiln and fire, but the material is very plastic. What I like in ceramics, you have the method but you can improvise. For example now I am doing objects, combining ceramics and other materials: wood, iron, glass. And ceramics gives this possibility. Material has so much potential.

I want to do nice things which people loved to have. Things which people would like to identify themselves with.


Zinda Oliveira

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R. de Ferreira Borges 63




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