Plates, cups, bowls, and the indelible prevalence
of function and form unveiled through ceramics.
And Margarida does it oh-so-well.
Words: Soraia Martins / Photography: Sanda Vuckovic
When you meet Margarida Melo Fernandes for the first time, her demeanour is as delicate and firm as the objects she creates with her own hands. They all tell a story, they all fulfil some kind of purpose, be it on a table or a shelf. This was her dream and chief goal: to make something you can use every day.
Her moniker, Margarida Fabrica, takes us on a very personal journey of someone who makes things. After studying Product Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts, in Lisbon, she knew she wanted to do something like this: “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to create, but I knew it had to do with working with my hands, and that’s why ceramics came into play. I’d already tried to work with clay in college, but it didn’t hit me until much later that this could be the perfect medium for the objects I wanted to create”.
The love for ceramics grew immensely when she moved to Denmark to do an internship at Ninna Gøtzsche’s studio, in Aarhus, her very first encounter with a master of what she was looking for: “She guided me and steered me through a learning process that even involved reading an enormous number of books. The first takes on it I did with her were all about shape. Forget about colors, forget about painting. For months, I was stuck with form, working with white porcelain”.
“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to create, but I knew it had to do with working with my hands, and that’s why ceramics came into play.”
After this, she headed to Amsterdam for more ceramic technique training, and was finally back in Lisbon again around 2010. Her body of work from that moment until now vastly shows her Nordic influence on account of her own experiences during that learning time, the organic lines, the unfussy, inconspicuous, subtle shapes meant to last a lifetime.
The first takes on it I did with her were all about shape. Forget about colors, forget about painting.
"I’m not fond of boisterous shapes, on the contrary; I’ve always tried to keep my everyday objects as understated as possible"
It wasn’t as easy to start this full-time as she thought it would be in her hometown, but after Alice Bernardo, from Saber Fazer, and our own Sanda Vuckovic shared Margarida Fabrica’s pieces on their social media, along came people from all over the world looking for them, including hotels and restaurants.
“I’m not fond of boisterous shapes, on the contrary; I’ve always tried to keep my everyday objects as understated as possible, they’re containers that are meant to let everything that’s served in them breathe. It is not them who speak, they’re silent. And I believe that was always my purpose”. Now, Margarida and her husband, André — let us not forget about their beautiful daughter, Branca — work together in their studio at LX Factory, in Lisbon, but who knows what the future holds? Great things, surely.
"They’re containers that are meant to let everything that’s served in them breathe"