Mariana Sampaio: new studio in Caldas da Rainha

Mariana Sampaio, Artrooms 2017 edition’s portuguese selected artist and winner of the public vote, has recently opened her Mariana Sampaio Studio in mid-July, which is one of the projects the artist has been working on since September last year. Following the development of her practice in ceramics for the past two years, Mariana found it the most challenging and versatile material she has ever worked with. This discovery together with living in one of the Portuguese cities with the biggest ceramics tradition made her prompt to open her own ceramics and mixed media studio.

The studio is located in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, in a council building that works as a hub for start-ups, being one of the many initiatives created to support young artists and more specifically new ceramicists in the region. Considering the region is thriving to be nominated the city of arts by UNESCO until 2020, Caldas da Rainha’s goal is to support emerging artists by facilitating them studio spaces where they can develop their practice, host exhibitions and be exposed to the market as residence artists. Mariana Sampaio is one of those artists: after working on a business plan and submitting her proposal, her project has been approved. She has now the support of Caldas da Rainha’s council and AIRO (Association of Business in the West Region), which allowed her to set up her studio with all the workshop facilities required to produce her work. The artist is also provided with some consulting hours on areas she doesn’t master, such as economy, finance and marketing, enabling her to better manage her business as an entrepreneur artist.

“To work in a hub for start-ups is definitely a plus, as there are any different types of company in the same building – contemporary jewellery, an industry of craft beer, handicraft, the development of cyber-protecting systems or an online market for fruits and vegetables. Working together in the same space allows us to mutually assist one another, sharing our contacts and promoting networking sessions among all of us.”
Mariana Sampaio

The studio is 52m2 and it combines all the facilities required for each step of the ceramic’s making process, from moulding plaster to sculpting the ceramic, including a glazing and painting area, a small oven that supports 80 litres, a showroom and a small office. Despite this, Mariana Sampaio Studio is a provisional space until 2020, when it will be moved to another space in the historial centre of the city, allowing the artist to have a wider working space, an area to host workshops and a gallery space with a shop open to the public.

“My goal will be not only to promote my own work but also to promote the work of other guest artists who are invited to do artistic residencies in the city.” she says.

Mariana Sampaio is now working on a project linked to her traditional roots – seaming and embroidery craftwork developed by the artist’s grandmothers, aunts and mother. Taking her female relatives’ work as inspiration, Mariana has been developing sculptures that present themselves as hybrid objects between the traditional arts & crafts world and the contemporary art world.

“At this point, I find myself in an introspective stage of production, and I have decided to put national and international exhibitions on hold for a little while.” Despite that, some of the artist’s ceramic pieces will be on show at one of the big events promoted by Caldas da Rainha – Feira dos Frutos e da Cerâmica (Fruits and Ceramics Fair). From 18th to 27th August, D. Carlos I park, the green heart of the city, will open its doors to several exhibitions, cultural activities, the display of fruity products and live music, inviting the public to see what the city has best regarding culture and farming.