Cristina Fonseca, Basketry

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Cristina began as a self-taught artisan and has been working professionally since 1984. She creates innovative objects, with a contemporary aesthetic, using bunho, rush marrow, wicker, and chestnut wood. She divides her time between producing and selling her pieces, and training and carrying out hands-on workshops.

Name of Craft in the local language
Cestaria em bunho, junco e vime
Type of Craft
Basketry in bulrush, rush marrow and wicker
Knowledge Holder
Cristina Fonseca
Location, Website
Sintra Link to website
Contact
cristinadafonseca@gmail.com, +351 967 003 651
Type of Business
Newly founded; manufacture undertaken at home.
Year of Establishment
1984
Successors
No

Workshop and sales space
4m2
Materials
Bulrush, rush marrow, esparto and wicker
Technology / Tools / Machines
Scissors, pocket knife, needles, pruning shears
Techniques / Processes
Weaving, braiding, cordage, ponto de capacho, spiral coiling.
Members / Employees
1
Apprentices
No but gives training often
Education of the Craftsperson
Mostly self-taught, but has done and continues to invest in training in different materials and techniques, especially workshops by the spanish master basket weaver Carlos Fontales

Best-selling product
Lampshades
Average time of production
2 hours
Average price per item
15 EUR - 30 EUR (unique pieces have different prices)

Artisan’s certification from CEARTE

Cristina began as a self-taught artisan and has been working professionally since 1984, at a time when basketry practice wasn’t very open to new women.

The interest and admiration for the craft, combined with a sudden need to work from home, were the basic ingredients to take on this art. Since she was forced to basically start learning on her own, her approach to basketry is also quite free and experimental. She creates innovative objects, with a contemporary aesthetic, using bulrush, rush marrow, wicker, and chestnut wood, and mixing different fibers and techniques in one piece – be they of artistic or more utilitarian nature. The material follows the object. She divides her time between producing and selling her pieces, and training and carrying out hands-on workshops. 

Cristina’s workshop is located within the area of her home in a 200 year old house in Sintra, a very humid countryside area outside of Lisbon and close to the ocean. She has a space for the storage of materials she buys or wild harvests, and the workshop area is around 4m2, with good natural lighting. As it is in a fairly urbanised area, Cristina doesn’t have space or conditions to grow her own materials. Her workshop is also closed to the public, and is only visited very rarely, by appointment

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    According to the plant she is weaving with she uses different techniques.

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Since Cristina has dominated the craft through a lot of experimentation and practice, enriched by the various workshops she has participated in throughout her 40 years in activity, her approach to techniques and processes is very different from the traditional craftspeople. She does weaving, braiding, cordage, “ponto de capacho'' and coiling, among many other less usual techniques. The material follows the object, as she herself states.

Initially Cristina dedicated herself to utilitarian and decorative basketry for interior spaces.

Especially lampshades in rush marrow and occasionally rush marrow furniture but from 2012 onwards Cristina has dedicated herself mainly to making small series and unique pieces, although still very much focused on lighting.