FEP- What are the roles of  Teresa in CaCo?
Teresa- My role in CaCO is designing, making contact with the factory and watching over them whenever it is necessary in the production. Maria also designs  parts, watch the production and just about everything else such as promotion, sales, online sales, managing the shop and the showroom and administration too. She works full-time at CaCO.

- Can you tell us about the other design jobs of yours?
-I am a professional architect. For many years I worked in an architecture office  but I was always designing products in small scale, especially carpets. I have also designed household textiles, clothing and scenic spaces for a dance because I was also linked to contemporary dance. But at this moment my creative activity focuses on CaCO and in the carpets.

- Could you explain about your clays?
Teresa & Maria -Normally we work with two types of clays, one is more rustic and less clear and the other is whiter and thin. Of course they give two different types of work, one is more textured and the other more refined.

- Where is your factory?
-The factory is in Barcelos, in the area of Galegos/S. Vicente de Areias, one of the places in Portugal where the pottery has great expression since very early days.

Here are two types of ceramics they produce at the factory:
= Household ceramic: produced mainly in factories 
= Figured/decorative ceramic: produced mainly in small workshops by their creators/artists and some of them are using their own ceramic with an unique character (Rosa Ramalho and Misterio are the most famous. I met them in my childhood but now the both have died). Products are mainly figures, animals, parts of crib, reproductions of figures such as musicians, farmers, blacksmiths etc.

- What is the traditional making method used in the factory?
-In tradition, the ceramic products were previously raised in potter's wheel and then glazed (or not) and cooked in ovens. All these processes were  handmade. They use mainly two types of rustic clays, one is more clear, designated white (turns yellow after glazing) and the other is red (terracotta, which becomes brown when glazed. The manufacture of tiles, bricks and flooring blocks of pavement was done with an identical clay) Today, with the international requirements of clays and glazes to be without any degree of toxicity, these components are prepared very carefully. The factory where we make our products  mainly works for the northern countries of Europe, and these rules are naturally assumed. Despite the changes and developments over the past few years, I can say that each piece is still unique. When the aim is to produce many parts strictly in equal, a mould can be used, but we’ve never made parts in that way.

- What are the advantages of the traditional method?
-The advantage of the traditional method using the potter's wheel for making new parts is above all an expressive and aesthetic quality which cannot be done by a multi production. As I have already said, one piece is made at a time and has a different finish which makes every single pieces very original.  It also has the advantage of allowing a wide variety of models because it's easier to do unique and different parts. Each series can only have, for example 10, 5 or only one part. But I can also produce 100 or 200 or more!
Regarding the colours,  each piece is immersed in grout by hand, one by one. Imagine if we have ten parts in same way (or almost ... ) where I combine two colors per piece, and, by using 6 colours, I do not know how many combinations can be possible.  So I'll have 10 unique pieces with a single shape...

-How many people work for you making the products?
-After designed parts are raised on the wheel under our supervision until achieving the desired model, they are produced by workers/craftsmen. The factory, which produces and packages has specialized in potters wheel, in painting (for models close from traditional ways and that we use in a deconstructed form), in caldas for glazing and other modes of painting, in the production of small additions such as the varieties of feet, wings or whatever it's necessary, and there are also workers for the packaging. The bosses are also artisans and know how to do everything. I am not sure how many workers there are but these are small - medium factories. Perhaps around 30 people. Sometimes we sorce from outside the factory when it's necessary.

- Who decides the colours and what is the inspiration for the choices?
-The colors are our choices, we wouldn't have it in any other way. We design all the shapes and colours for our products. The inspiration comes from the selection of our experiences, past products which we reproduce with new ideas. But the palette of colors is supplied from what is available and what is used in the factory which vary sometimes. We don’t need to have many colours as it just makes it more difficult for us to choose. However, some colors are so important that we combine carefully. If we use a white ceramic,  we use more rustic and slightly darker colour as the finishing will be a little bit different. But we like to play with a certain degree of imponderability and we sometimes get surprised!

- Can you talk about the traditional piggybanks? Are they still popular?
-I honestly don't know! But for some generations the piggybanks are very much linked to children’s imagination. And now with the current economic crisis, we thought it’s appropriate to reedit them with a touch of joy as much as possible! As they are meant to be smashed, people think twice before reaching the money that has been collected ...

- What is the unique character of the CaCO’s products?
-We have some reviews that say:
… It evocative memories but they are objects for today and the futureThey are small home décor sculptures which are colorful and useful.
They challenge your imagination how to use; They are smiling and cheerful; Make a good company to antique and modern; They are friendly and beautiful to look at ... ; They are  Portuguese and unique. Etc ...

- What are the most popular products?
-Hydras, Potlegs, Legs, and the Berlin in its variants. But all models are in general.

- What do you like about Portugal?
-Among many other things, the know-how. But there's so much! The light of winter days without clouds like today!

- What do you like about Porto city?
-The city itself,  its rugged topography, the houses, the old churches, the golden river and the bridges, (the river Douro only shows gold color a few times per year, at the beginning of spring, when it brings in the waters the remains of shining clay), the sea which is always different ... Finally its modernity which is so intricate in the history. And the architects. But the great tastes the city gives cannot fit in one paragraph.

- What do you like to do in your free time?
-Read, write, and go to the Casa da Musica; spend night in the town with a group of my architects friends; go to the Serralves; watch the sea, etc. My free time never comes for what I want to do.

- What is your favorite Portuguese dish?
-Many! Here are a few of them: 
Cozido à Portuguesa; Meia-desfeita ; all dishes with Bacalhau (salted cod); Tripas à moda do Porto (tipical dish of Porto), and always good vegetable soup.

Their shop in Porto city.

One of the things I like about Portuguese cities is the colours of houses and buildings. I believe this strong sun light has been a part of the great colour creations which are so warm and soft. You also find some bright colours in the cities too but they look great as well and merging nicely in the scene. I love walking on the streets watching those magical colour combinations. 

Teresa and Maria, mother and daughter, are the owners of CaCo and they produce ceramic wares with wonderful colour ranges in the both of soft and bright colours. That's one of the reasons why I like their products but also the shapes of the pottery gives a feeling of warmness and kindness too. Their products never be the same as each pieces are handmade by craft men at an old factory.


Pottery producer / Traditional clays and techniques / urban & new design / Collaboration with small factory

Clickhere to see more of CaCo's pottery.

When we visited the shop in Porto city, it was raining and chilly but it didn't stop me from appreciating its charming and colourful architecture. And of course, we were received by a warm welcome of the CaCo's shop which was full of tasty colours.