WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Friday, 8 June 2012

No Factories -No Looms

Not far from my village are the villages of  Ferreira do Alentejo and the village of Arriolos.  Both lovely villages, although I have to say that Arriolos is one of the loveliest places to visit.

The province of Alentejo is made up of many villages belonging to districts.  Each district and village have their own unique artisan and craft work.       Its what makes Alentejo attractive.
 When we take a drive out to one of these villages, we know what we are going to see, thats the great part about it.  

                                        FERREIRA    DO      ALENTEJO

The images below are hand made artisan work from Ferreira do Alentejo.

 The art of painting these intricate unique designs have been handed down through the generations.

hand painted bed head

                                               childrens doll house bedroom set
Ready to assemble a child's bed

                                                It is a tradition to have two of these small little chairs at the side of the large fireplace.  In some of the old restored farmhouses, the owners still like to keep this tradition . I have two plain red ones.

                                              Wardrobe  and other items a beadhead leaning on the wall.
                                            Hand painting a door.  The designs are now also being used in country farmhouses that have been restored.

                                                 All hand made .  The items are made to order. No two peices are alike. unless requested.
                                                     A traditional Alentejo bed and bedcover
                                            Some of the designs used

green hand painted kitchen chair.
These images are of the old designs that if you are lucky enough to find are very valueable-

chest of drawers.. so lovely is the design.
For many many years I had a blue kitchen table and chairs with this above design on the chest of drawers.. everyone loved it, we had many great meals and pow pow's on that table.



hand stitching working from top to bottom.

Beautiful intricate designs. No looms are necteslsary in the making of these carpets . They are highly sought after .  

                                                             The begining of a design
                                                                   Carpet shop in Arriolos
 The ladies of a summer evening sit outside their front doors with the children playing around and sew. Most of the designs are of oriental moorish designs. The ladies use their own interpretation. They are beauty in the making.  Its wonderful to see the ladies at work on their carpets.  They are sold in Arriolos and in Lisbon. As you can imagine, they cost a fortune.

                                                     Some of the village girls prefer to stay with their mothers when they leave school..and continue the tradition. here a young girl is showing her handywork.
Queen Elisabeth ll  was given an arriolos carpet..as a gift from the portuguese government.
They add class to any home .  Are seen hanging on walls or adorning the floors of the palaces and stately homes of portugal  


  1. Dear Val
    What a wonderful painting technique! The design of the carpets are great! The continuation of traditional art pursues life in these villages. Unfortunately here we have abandoned the traditional arts! Anyway ,if I'll ever come in Portugal I would like to have the money to buy six chairs, a table, a large bed and two carpets!
    Are they many ?

  2. Dear Val
    What a wonderful painting technique! The design of the carpets are great! The continuation of traditional art pursues life in these villages. Unfortunately here we have abandoned the traditional arts! Anyway ,if I'll ever come in Portugal I would like to have the money to buy six chairs, a table, a large bed and two carpets!
    Are they many ?

  3. Hello Val:
    How intriguing that the work from these two villages is so very different. Each is absolutely beautiful and one cannot help but be in awe of the work and skill that goes into them. It is so reassuring that some young people still wish to continue to keep these ancient traditions alive for it would be very sad if the skills were lost.

  4. Dear Val, Here is how to add a blog list.
    First copy http of blog you want to add. Go to top of your last post and click on "Design". On left side towards bottom click on "Layout"
    On right side click on "Add a gadget". Click on "Blog List".
    Give your bloglist a title ("blogs I love to read" or something similar. Takes you to configure bloglist. Insert http of blog you want to add. Click on "Add" scroll down and click on "Save".
    That should do it. Let me know if you have any questions.
    Love your post of today. I have two beautiful Portuguese rugs. Need to replace a small one. How about making them available. Maybe a new business for you?
    ox, Gina

  5. What wonderful craft work, it's so good to know that these skills not only still exist but are being handed on to the next generation. I'm not surprised that the carpets cost a fortune, the skill and time required to make one must be immense.

  6. It is so great to see the country folk hand down some of their knowledge to the younger generation.. thats the beauty of living here.

    glad that you liked the post ...
    thank you Rowan..
    Always nice to be home.

  7. So so true Jane and Lance,
    Its really lovely that each village have their own identity.even the gastronomy are all different.
    Some of the trades are dying out and the youth Immigrating to other countries. It is nice however to see some of it still being revived. Its difficult to come upon the furniture..
    thank you for your lovely comments they are always appreciated.
    Have a wonderful weekend there in Budapest.

  8. Dear Olympia,
    I am so pleased that you liked this post.
    One day, who knows, you might pay us a visit.
    Greece also has beautiful artesan work.. like you say, its dying out. I am pleased here that some of the villages still maintain their traditions.
    Happy days Olympia.

  9. Hello Val, these rugs are beautiful! Reading your blog I'm realizing that I know very little of portagallo, its people and its traditions! Happy Weekend!

  10. Thank you Olympia.
    Portugal is a beautiful interesting country. Its always good to know about other cultures.

  11. Thank you Francesca..

    Portugal is a lovely country. Has a lot that Italy has too.
    lots of sun and happy days.
    After work during the long summer nights.. the boys and girls will play outside. I am sure its like that in Italy.
    Thank you Francesca ..

  12. The painted furniture and carpets are fantastic. I hope the craft work will continue for a long time to come and their work will be appreciated.
    So often these days copies of traditional crafts are imported in and are nothing like the original pieces.
    The 'Slow Food Movement', I mentioned is the way that are trying to make sure local traditional food still has a large enough share of the market to survive.
    Sarah x

  13. This is all so beautiful - design and technique - no wonder it all costs a fortune. I believe it is very valuable to carry on such a tradition - one knows one's roots and that is very important thing in these times. This is so interesting, Val! You really made a great post! Thank you! CHrista

  14. Dear Val, if I lived near you I would want some of that painted furniture. I particularly like those wardrobes, how lovely they would look in a young girls room.
    The painting has a naivety to it which reminds me of the painting one sees on the canal boats here.
    Very, very attractive and nice to see.

  15. Thank you Rosemary,
    Yes the painting is very naive... its similar to the artwork of other countries. Bavaria, germany, england
    Its an old form of art ..its been kept alive in that village, but its slowly dying.. the young men dont want to do what their fathers did. we are however lucky to have some that do.

  16. Thank you Christa.. i am glad you liked the post of today.
    I have been pretty busy these last few days and seem to be behind.
    Its great that still some of the boys and girls like to do this art work.
    happy weekend

  17. Hello Val, such a great post. It is wonderful to have these original traditions in your area, and special crafts continue to be produced. I love the carpet with blue bows so much - I have added Portugal to my wish-list of must-see places! Today I went to a lecture on the art of the Prado in Madrid (an exhibition is coming here soon), and the Portugese influence was mentioned. Very interesting culturally and historically. xxx

  18. How wonderful to be able to talk about the Prado.
    and to talk about art. I love Madrid and of course who can visit without going to the Prado , Madrid and Spain.
    Portugal and Spain ...Iberia.
    Portugal has a most fantastic history, Being the first to discover many countries accross the world. A nation of great sailors and discoverers. So was Spain.
    Portuguese History makes for excellent reading.
    thank you for your lovely comments Patricia.

    Maybe a post on the exhabition coming up.
    xx val

  19. Hi Val, I'm so glad to meet you.
    So interesting art work, love those painted furniture, great artist. Thanks for sharing your beautiful traditions of your country.

    Big Hugs from Perú
    Have a great Day!


  20. Dear Val,

    I always find it fascinating to learn things about other countries. Traditions, arts, how people live and think there. there are so many similarities in things one would never expect and still every place has it's own colours, styles and techniques... thank you : )

  21. Hello Valerie

    A delightful and informative post.

    The arriolos carpet is spectacular and I could use one in my office.
    Can you talk them into giving one away and then you could have a giveaway!!! That is a bad joke!!! Hee Hee

    Enjoy your weekend

    Helen xx

  22. Hi Val...I'm Isabel...aka BlueShell.
    Vim por indicação da Sandie - uma pessoa maravilhosa com quem me correspondo.
    E ainda bem que vim: este blog é uma maravilha. Uma honra e privilégio vir aqui.
    O teu Inglês é perfeito...o meu...pobrezinho!

  23. Ola e bom dia Isabel.
    Um presir vir uma portuguesa na minha blog.
    Eu vivo no Alentejo.. e so Inglesa!
    I have lived in Portugal permenantly for 32 years.
    How nice of you to leave your message on my post ..
    obrigada. I will pass your way and read about you.
    feliz domingo.

  24. Thank you Helen,
    Yes, how wonderful if we could win one. I own one very large old one I bought in 1974 when we built our home in cascais. Its pretty threadbare now and mr M..has it in the old farm house.
    The carpets have a very interesting history.
    lovely comments Helen,
    Happy Sunday to you there.

  25. So true Demie,
    You would find many things here that would remind you of Greece, just in a different way. Old traditions passed down. So very interesting to know about other cultures.
    Thank you demie for your kind comments
    Happy Sunday to you and your family

  26. Thank you Charo.
    nice to read your comments from Peru.
    Best wishes to you for a wonderful Sunday

  27. What a wonderul story, and a wonderful blog... saw your comment on another and found you, and I'm so glad I did!

  28. Thank you mary Ann. very kind of you and glad you liked my blog.
    hope to see you again.

  29. I love that each place has it's own flavor. Such beautiful work! Thank you for sharing.

  30. Thank you Val - for your very friendly comment and your kind words! Yes, one should choose the right food and not waste any. It takes so much to grow it all - it should really be appreciated and should be grateful for it! How is the weather in Portugal? Here it is cold and rainy. By the way we had wonderful organic red wine last Saturday from Portugal. The agency for home swaps is www.homeforexchange.com I did not want to mention it to everybody as the pictures I published are from that website. Have a look! It is a wonderful idea! Christa

  31. How fortunate you are Val to have this beautiful craftsmanship to admire. Such talent!

  32. Thank you Annie,
    I must admit..these artisan folklore work is so lovely.
    thanks for passing by
    best wishes to you there in Down under.!


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