Anyone passing through Bolhão this Friday afternoon will find a unique opportunity. The renewed market in the heart of Porto is getting ready for the feast of S. João, inviting everyone to get their hands dirty – in this case, clay – and thus contribute to the cascade that will soon be in exhibition on the first floor. Caught by surprise, the tourists did not hesitate.
One of Tabea Funke’s daughters was in tears when she reached the top of the stairs. A child’s thing, the annoyance soon passed when he realized that there were fun things to do there. For kids and adults, as the invitation is aimed at all ages. Like this German family, many other people can build houses from clay, in an initiative of the Chamber in partnership with Oficina Brâmica. Objective: leave your mark on the traditional sanjoanina waterfall that will be on display from the 20th.
Given the location of the market, the inspiration for most of these occasional artists is right next door, on Rua de Alexandre Braga. That’s why we see replicas of buildings with friezes and tile coverings and iron balconies. But the cascade will have much more than that. Bigger with each passing year, it usually features emblematic buildings of the city, such as Casa da Música or Torre dos Clérigos. But also bandstands and fountains, sheep, manjericos and, of course, S. João.
Tabea Funke will not have the opportunity to see the waterfall, as her stay in Porto is short. In the city for the second time – the first time was ten years ago, on business -, now with her husband and two daughters, the sociologist from Stuttgart was well aware of the “renewal of the city” and, upon entering Bolhão, found a way to entertain himself with his daughters, molding the clay.
Also caught by surprise, Gülgün Alpan didn’t want to say goodbye to the city without “leaving something in Porto”. Born in Turkey but living in Grenoble, France, the university professor felt sorry for not being able to participate in the party. “I was walking by the market and saw an advertisement for a ceramics workshop. A young woman explained the project to me and I liked it”. That was all it took to make its contribution to community building, which will be on display in the market until July 1st.
Who knew about the workshop and even arrived at opening time was Elsa Oliveira, born in Porto and living in Valongo. “I really like manual work. I didn’t know it was for the waterfall, but once I found out, it became even more interesting”, this training project manager told JN. From her hands came two houses and a church. “If I could, I’d stay for the afternoon,” he said.
Brâmica has been a regular partner of the Municipality in the construction of the community waterfall since 2017. For this year’s edition, Teresa Branco, coordinator of these workshops, has already been to the basic schools of Torrinha and Pasteleira, from which more than two hundred miniature houses have been built. . They will join those in Bolhão and also those resulting from two more sessions at Oficina Brâmica (Rua de Santo Isidro), scheduled for the 13th and 14th. registration, but for the other two workshops it is necessary to make an appointment, via email [email protected].
The waterfall will occupy an area of 8×2 meters and will have more than 1500 houses and other figures. But there is still a lot of work ahead. After being modeled on a previously hollowed stoneware base, the pieces will be painted with engobe (clay with 2% glaze and dye) and then sent to the kiln for single firing at 1020 degrees.
“Here we only give the structure and each one does it according to their creativity. They know that it is for the S. João waterfall”, Teresa Branco tells JN, adding that the waterfall will have “at least 200 more figures, the every year”. As for the number of people involved, this year’s estimate is around 400. These workshops are the mirror of the work carried out at Brâmica: “Getting ordinary people to be participants, not just spectators. They can materialize their artistic expression” .