Artist Spotlight - Saudade Coffee Mugs
Patricia "Patti" Ferreira
My people left Olhao in the Algarve and Sao Miguel Island in the Azores during the political upheaval in Portugal in the early 20th century. They were part of a Portuguese enclave that settled in Provincetown, Massachusetts where my grandfather worked fishing cod in the Grand Banks and my grandmother intermittently harvested cranberries when she wasn't raising her seven children that included my father. My own parents kept the heritage alive, as most immigrants do, mainly with food: lulas, linguica, morcilla, quahogs and rice, bacalhau, sardines. At Christmas we would make trutas, a Provincetown Portuguese speciality, and on occasional mornings my mother would fry malasada.
Five years ago, my son, Dan, and I traveled back to Olhao and I was struck by the way rosemary (rosmarinho) honey was sold in groceries in beautiful Alcobaca-like jars. I have always admired Redondo's narrative pottery, but because I am a beekeeper, the honey jars with their bright floral embellishments, sometimes further accented with the Algarve's moorish influence, were designs I wanted to emulate on my own work. I am not a production potter, so all of my pieces have their own eccentricities, and each of my honey pots, in particular, have their own individuality.
My Portuguese origins are more obviously apparent in a current ceramic project which depicts my grandmother's immigration on a series of ginger jars that I have fashioned. My Avozinha was a courageous woman who survived many hardships when she came to the United States. I am telling her story through a medium that has the capacity to survive centuries and, as a result, will keep her alive.