Europe’s second biggest handicrafts fair, the Feira do Artesanato has showcased the works of hundreds of artisans every year for the last 24 years. This weekend, it returns to Lisbon for a week of crafts, music and food. PDV sneaks an advance peek.
Delicate objects made out of cork and wood, the creations of Carlos Alberto Lopes dos Reis never fail to impress. At craft fair competitions, the artisan has received many honorable mentions for his work, including his “Ti Manel” wooden toys that appeal to kids and adults alike.
With his wooden toys, artisan Carlos Alberto Lopes returns to Lisbon’s Feira do Artesanato (FIA or International Handicrafts Fair) , the biggest craft fair in Portugal opening its doors on 30 June. The fair offers a wide array of objects from Portugal and beyond like the rag dolls lovingly handcrafted by Beatriz Sendin and other handicrafts from around the world.
Beatriz Sendin creates pretty, carefully sewn dolls that are decorative items rather than toys. Split into collections, the dolls are made from a variety of fabrics, from wool to nylon via anything she can get her hands on. There is a doll collection for everyone, one dedicated to emotions expressed through hugs and kisses, another dedicated to families, and a few thematic ones about superheroes, Christmas and parties. Sendin’s creations have already gone on show at a museum and at several fairs to much acclaim as people connect with the emotions embodied by the dolls.
Both Carlos Alberto Lopes and Beatriz Sendin will meet once again at the Feira do Artesanato which they have attended for year. From 30 June to 8 July, the largest fair “dedicated to material and non-material culture on the Iberian Peninsula” has to offer will open its doors to the public and to crafts professionals.
FIA-Lisboa brings together different regions, traditions and goods in one place. The fair, that takes up four pavilions at Parque das Nações, showcases crafts from around Portugal and the world.
Foodies will also enjoy trying different national and international treats. From cheese to pastries, there’s plenty to tickle the taste buds. On the craft side, the variety of objects on display is overwhelming. Many of stalls offer unique items, some of which are created on the spot, occasionally offering visitors the opportunity to join in and learn crafting techniques.
This year’s guest country is Argentina to whom the fair dedicates a day on July 5 with Argentine goods, workshops and demonstrations. Throughout the week, three different demonstrations will focus on sculpture, metal work, and embroidery. There is also a tango workshop on July 5 for those in the mood for a different experience full of excitement and sensuality.
The fair is usually divided into fourteen sectors: arts and crafts in textiles, ceramic, vegetable elements, leather, wood and cork, metal, rock, paper and graphics, tied traditional construction, property, restoration and common areas, other arts and crafts, semi-craft arts, artisanal food products, regional gastronomy, and semi-craft items.
Music is also on the programme with drum players and singers walking from aisle to aisle across the pavilion throughout the day as FIA “invites all the Portuguese and foreign delegations to organise musical and/or other sociocultural activities that express the heart and soul of their respective regions”.