"Que dúvida Que dívida Que dádiva / Que duvidávida afinal a vida."

David Mourão Ferreira, Matura Idade

“Maria Fernanda Braga was born in July 31st, 1965. She belongs to the new generation of potters. Nevertheless, she is neither the daughter of potters, nor was she born in the land of potters (she was born in Portimão) and she hasn’t learnt the art during her childhood as well. Additionally, she is not a man, and being a potter was, traditionally, a men’s job. The truth is that, in Portugal, we are not acquainted with pottery being made by women in the past. At a potter’s house, women were in charge of housewife tasks and making pieces in clay: fetching water, catching wood, kneading clay, helping putting the pieces into the oven and taking them out, and selling the crockery. Women’s work concerning pottery was always submissive and tough, very tough!

Thus, Maria Fernanda Braga was first in contact with this art not because she was influenced by genealogy but by option. Between 1997 and 1998, she attended a Pottery Course in Guimarães, which was integrated in a project whose main goal was to assure the preservation of our cultural patrimony (Projecto CPC – Conservação do Património Cultural). After finishing this course, she immediately opened her atelier on her own account in Fermentões, a village near Guimarães.

She continues following the traditional canons (she makes the gift small jug (“cantarinha das prendas”) or the lovers small jug (“cantarinha dos namorados”) – an emblematic pottery piece of art, well known in Guimarães), but she also creates other contemporary pieces, using ornaments such as mica. Other projects and challenges have been embraced by Maria Fernanda Braga, namely the reproduction of two pre-roman ceramic pieces, from Briteiros and Rendufe, which Martins Sarmento Society invited her to do. Besides that, she was asked by Alberto Sampaio Museum to study the image of Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, which resulted in a reproduction of it in painted clay. Her hands have also blessed us with many original cribs that have become successful in this region. One of her small jugs was selected to represent the Portuguese northern handicraft, in the National Handicraft Prize 2003 – Earth’s gold, hands’ dream.

Simultaneously, she has recently dedicated herself to guiding pottery ateliers for children and forming teachers in many different Forming Centres."

Isabel Maria Fernandes