Made in Monchique – Ceramics

Today I went to the local Ceramist called Leonel Telo. His shop and atelier is situated along a small pathway behind the church in Monchique, the Casa da Nogueira. He is bread and raised in Monchique, a proper Monchiqués as locals would call him. From his flyer, he has gained several Portuguese awards, has worked in reconstruction and taught students. A lovely guy at the beginning of his sixtees. His greatest problem in terms of tourist interaction is he does not speak any other language – a perfect opportunity for me to practise in my few words of Portuguese.

It was arranged I would visit him in the afternoon. Typical Portuguese style I waited 45 minutes before deciding to go elsewhere temporarily (to our office space) to pop back in later. From waiting outside his shop I noticed at least two families who had hoped to go inside. When I got to the shop eventually a couple of German tourists were buying a few pieces. From this the shop seems to be going well and he does have some beautifully crafted pieces of ceramics – abstract tall sculptures, bowls which look woven like made from fabric, simple crockery and mugs. Unfortunately Leonel is very protective of his works and did not permit me taking pictures, however I could not resist his beautiful mold collection.

I dived straight in and helped him decorate plates whilst trying to talk in Portuguese. Having partially explained what kind of Designer I am and the projects I am involved in here in Monchique, he asked me to work on a small flyer which can be placed in local restaurants recommending a visit. Not a problem with nice photography, if I get to make tiles or other ceramic objects in return! His brother, who came in as I was about to leave, also grabbed the opportunity – he works for the local association which runs the Honey and Medronho shop and asked me to make a set of postcards from the process of growing, picking and distilling Medrohno. He will be supplying some photographs next week, why not? Sometimes it’s just funny what comes along and I am curious to see the photos’ quality.


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