The Ria and the Handicrafts

Ria de Aveiro has developed with Man and for the Man.

He made it his birthplace, where he was born and where he prospered. By recognizing that he evolved thanks to the Ria, Man established with it a treaty based on respect. This resulted on an appreciation for all that is part of this fertile region, not only giving "fruits" ready to be harvested, but that also offers raw materials, which help to create the economic foundation of many families.

Rias' locations have always been distinguished by their crafts and arts. The handicraft is one way of recognizing Ria as a model, as the main character of the daily life stories that can be told. The range of typical souvenirs is, thanks to its variety, very extensive. Ceramics and tiles occupy a prominent place in relation to other activities, because these are the most representative of Ria de Aveiros' people and traditions. The ceramic decorative pieces,  especially plates, mugs and platters, with quite simple motifs and discreet colors, from which the blue color is highlighted, become, thanks to their uniqueness, quite attractive works of art.

Many were those who, inspired by the Ria itself, ended up creating what we recognize today as the local symbols. They made a point to include the themes of fauna and flora, architecture and of the residents' daily life. There is Ria de Aveiro's essence in sectors as diverse as metalwork, wood, patchwork, weaving, basketry and wrought iron. The modeling of ships and fishing boats is one of the most meticulous crafts of the region, because this job requires knowledge of naval architecture. In fact, the wood replica of traditional means of transport has always been one of the great activities around the Ria. Moliceiros (Aveiros' traditional boats), Alfaias (wooden drum of animal skins) and Arte Xávega boats (traditional half-moon shaped boats for the traditional "xávega" fishing method), are still replicated today with a remarkable patience of those who seek perfection in details.

The replication of marine implements (wooden tools used to collect salt in an artisanal way) into miniatures is also one of the local arts. Using razors, the craftsman imitates in detail the nearly 30 tools existing in the salinagem (salt crystallization) jobs. Each replicated piece is an allegory to the secular tradition of the Ria. Another art is the seamanship, that also creates miniature cables and nautical gears. It is common to turn decorative handicrafts, that reflect the accuracy and science of seamanship, into paintings. The painting of shells is another craft that has been entertaining the population throughout the ages. By being colorful, they became a picturesque image of peoples' daily life.

The Ria, which is already beautiful by itself, is even more beautiful when represented in the handicrafts. The Man, that respects it, displays it proudly in the works of art coming out of his hands, but, above all, of his heart. This is a happy Ria. To love and to be loved. For caring and being cared for.