Arminho – a studio shaped by nature

Long gone are the times when thinking of the word handicraft (which gathers significantly less weight than its Portuguese counterpart, artesanato) was about remembering all those traditional objects coming from towns and villages teeming with ancient stories and customs that overfill markets, museums, and homes all over Portugal. It’s not that the image or, indeed, that reality has faded completely, but there is now a solemn belief in handmade things, as if it were some kind of awakening of distant memories. This is certainly the case of Arminho, a studio founded in 2011 by Raquel and João "with no big plans or expectations", as they state. "We wanted to do things we enjoyed and, back then, this amazing global movement of bringing new life into the handmade savoir faire was just beginning, and the online world was also turning into a prime spot to do it. All of that had a powerful influence on us and motivated us, but not in a mechanical or structured way. Until now, everything happened in an organic fashion, kind of going with the flow with what motivates us or makes us passionate in the moment". Their work won’t definitely go unnoticed to those who follow this wonder duo, an undeniable mishmash of eco-friendly letterpress notebooks, posters, paper ephemera and, more recently, tin and brass objects, like the Vasculum — any amateur botanist’s dream — or the pencil case, and beautifully-made ceramics, as well. «We like to call ourselves makers». Given the collective imaginary of the cultural weight of the word artesanato, Raquel and João believe that there’s an urge to adapt it to modern times — and that’s exactly what they do, keeping a common denominator in mind, although the design and aesthetics of their products are not the same as the «unchanged tradition». Arminho’s passion for the organic and handmade processes is striking and carries over clearly into their laidback, serene day to day life, which is driven by the pleasure of creating. "We don’t have a schedule or office hours — after all, that’s one of the best parts of our jobs! What we love the most is the process of creating, researching, and designing our products and objects; to be immersed in the creative process is without a doubt the most thrilling thing we do. However, sharing it all with the world is also wonderful, to get feedback from our customers and followers, to receive comments or e-mails is utterly rewarding for those who, like us, work in a studio with no direct contact with the outside world". We like to call ourselves makers. Nature, of course, plays a defining role within the artistic process, working as one of their greatest inspirations, though they’re always looking for new techniques and perspectives, too. Slow living doesn’t necessarily mean staying stuck and not evolving, so it’s safe to say Arminho is continuously growing while focussing on what matters. Recently, they took this to a whole new level by moving to Viseu, a mountain-wrapped town in the centre region of Portugal, fulfilling their long-lasting dream of living in the countryside. "It has been a gradual adjustment, as we’re still building what we envisioned with this change and we know it will naturally take some time. As far as our work is concerned, moving here didn’t do much to it — perhaps the fact that we’re closer to our sources of inspiration has already had some effect on our latest work, but our routine is still only lacking the time we need to do everything we wanted to". It certainly has been working wonders on their work and joie de vivre, as they keep on launching more and more beautiful products and living their best lives with Pinha, their lovely pug

Pictures by Arminho

Article by Soraia Martins