Lusitânia Shop pays Tribute to Finest Portuguese Products

Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop

Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop handpicks the finest handmade contemporary pieces from around 40 artists

– December 7, 2021

The Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop opened its door in Carvoeiro, right before the COVID-19 pandemic cast its shadow over Portugal. After travelling all over the country and Europe, Lagoa-native Tânia Silva wanted to bring to her community a different concept of traditional craftsmanship. “It’s a project dedicated to that which is handmade in the country, in an exclusive way and totally different from industrialised products. We value contemporary craftsmanship through unique and original pieces made by our artisans,” she explains.

Lusitânia’s goal is clear: “To highlight and promote our national craftsmanship”

And so, the shop brings together pieces by around 40 artists from all over the country, of various ages and using different materials and techniques. Although very different, they all have something in common: “These are excellent products, made with soul, dedication and love, all from Portugal”, and which are difficult to find anywhere else.

In Tânia’s own words, the shop’s main goal is crystal clear: “To highlight and promote our national craftsmanship.”

Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop

A walk through Portuguese Art, from decorative to practical ceramics, macramé, jewellery, paintings and much more

Walking into Lusitânia is like going on a journey of Portuguese art, ranging from decorative or practical ceramics, original canvases, azulejos (traditional tile work), macramé, tableware, jewellery and unique signature pieces.

Here, you’ll find ceramics from Caldas da Rainha, typical Alentejo chairs, quilts from Serra da Estrela, religious pieces from Fátima, the Barcelos rooster, azulejos from Alcobaça and other works from Pombal, Lisbon and, of course, the Algarve. And Tânia herself handpicks all of this.

“I have a very close relationship with each artist. I visit the studios where they work so they can show me what they have and I choose the pieces that best fit the shop’s concept. Sometimes I’ll even tell them what I want and even sketch out my idea and they do it. That’s why there are a lot of custom pieces as well,” she explains.

This close relationship seems to seep into the community. Just last summer, Tânia saw several artisans come into Lusitânia requesting to have their work sold at the shop as well. But there is one thing that leads to certain elimination: “If I see that an artist doesn’t put love and dedication into their piece, I cannot invest in them because I feel that their goal is simply to sell,” she states.

Coming into Lusitânia Handmande Gift Shop, the first thing you’ll notice is the many colours on the walls and shelves, usually loaded with ceramic sardines, lobsters and swallows.

There are also mandalas, postcards made of different materials, mugs and plenty of decorative china and tableware. Nativity scenes are sold year round, along with fridge pins, paintings using recyclable materials and paintings of seascapes, angels, key rings and books. But the top sellers are the decorative azulejos and soap dishes.

“These are all items that cannot be found anywhere else and that no other shop nearby will have. That’s our concept and it must be respected. I have a little bit of everything and something for everyone,” Tânia says, adding that she makes sure to always tell clients the story behind each piece, the materials used, who made it and where they come from. “This shop is an homage to the Portuguese people and our craftsmanship,” she says.

At her shop, Tânia Silva welcomes painters, designers, sculptors, potters, carpenters and many other artisans. As for the clientele, most are tourists, both foreign and Portuguese, but a lot of residents visit the shop as well.

From Lusitânia to the world

Lusitânia can also ship any piece to anywhere in the country or the world — Tânia has shipped orders to the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and multiple European countries. The latest order, one of the biggest, came from an American company with offices in Lisbon, which commissioned 200 swallows customised with their logo, as gifts to the staff in the Portuguese capital during a company dinner. “They found me on Instagram and made the order. I spoke to the craftsman and I’m going to deliver the pieces in Lisbon myself,” Tânia reveals.

As for the future, she hopes to take Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop to other towns in the Algarve and beyond. “The goal is to grow and have shops all over the country. The first steps will be here in the Algarve and then elsewhere. I’ll have to do some thorough research as it will be tricky to find places that don’t sell pieces like what I have,” says Tânia. For now, she will be taking a Pottery course to create her own collections.

During winter, Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

Visit Lusitânia Handmade Gift Shop’s website, or follow on Instagram

Text Maria Simiris
Photos Phaze Photography

Author: Inside Magazines

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