Project TASA bets on hiring artisans to keep the art of woven fabrics alive

Less and less, and older, are those who keep the ancestral knowledge of the entwined ones. An alarm signal that […]

Less and less, and older, are those who keep the ancestral knowledge of the entwined ones. An alarm signal that has been ringing for a long time and that led ProActive Tur, the company that manages the TASA – Técnicas Ancestralis, Soluções Atual project, to decide to move forward without the public funding network for the training of artisans in arts such as sugarcane, the wicker, the palm contract and the straw, with the objective of hiring two of them.

In addition to ensuring that there is a passage of testimony from the masters that still exist, all of them "aged over 70", ProActive Tur also makes a contribution to the viability of TASA itself, as requests for pieces are made using interwovens are many and the capacity to produce them is very little.

“Teaching and the transmission of knowledge is our great cause today – although there are things that, in fact, should not be within our competence. To ensure that this heritage does not disappear is a mission that should not be left to a company. But we feel that, if we do nothing, many of the arts we work with will disappear», revealed João Ministro, from ProActive Tur, to Sul Informação.

This is the loudest among the many TASA news for 2018, which were revealed in a session that took place at the Hotel Anantara de Vilamoura, a hotel unit that integrates a store of the project. This hotel, the only one in Europe in this international chain of luxury units, is, moreover, one of the funders of the training in the art of woven fabrics that ProActive Tur will launch.

This roll up your sleeves, by the company that manages TASA, is not new. "This year, we have already promoted the course in the art of tinsmithing, but because we had support, as bearing all the expenses alone is complicated", he recalled. The results can already be seen in the new TASA catalogue, presented shortly before our newspaper spoke to João Ministro.

In 2018, TASA “will bring together a group of private partners around it”, to launch training in lattices and “finance apprentices”. Registration for the course will be open «on December 15th, so that the course starts in February». Six apprentices will be selected.

In the end, “a completely new step for TASA will be taken, which is to hire two artisans to work with us full time”.

“We want to be responsive and able to innovate more. The artisans we work with today are impeccable, but they also have some limitations. For example, in the summer time it is difficult to find someone available, as they are going to fairs. And there are others who, in addition to being artisans, are farmers, beekeepers, have to take care of their spouse and are only able to dedicate one or two hours a week," he illustrated.

«About two weeks ago we had an order for 40 cane lamps, for a hotel, and we had to refuse, due to inability to respond. There is not a month that goes by in which we do not have to refuse requests and this is closely related to the area of ​​woven fabrics», he said.

In addition to this project, to which Hotel Anantara has already joined, as a funder, and should have more partners, TASA is also preparing to launch the first edition of a creativity award in the area of ​​traditional arts, with an associated amount that «still it is not defined, but we want it to be generous».

“This award aims to take the name of TASA even further. We will reward young creative people who work with the traditional arts of the Algarve. One of the issues is that they will have to work with our artisans. They can be designers from China or Porto, but the artisans must be from the Algarve. The winning piece will later be included in our catalogue», explained João Ministro.


In 2018, the project was originally launched by the Algarve's Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR), which in the meantime got wings and flies for itself, it will also continue to bet on creative residencies.

«We are working with a new organization in Portugal called “Passa ao Futuro”, which has its origins in the United States and created a headquarters in Lisbon. They are creating a national database of arts and crafts and are organizing creative residencies”, said the head of ProActive Tur.

TASA is the Algarve partner of this international project. Those responsible for «Passa ao Futuro» have already been to the Algarve and «we have already set up two residences, which will take place next year».

In a first phase, these actions will only be open to the internal contacts of the organization that collaborates with TASA, but “later, they will be open to interested designers and creatives”. The model is also different from other residences in which ProActive Tur has been involved.

“In these residences, creatives acquire a kind of package. Imagine you are a Japanese designer who wants to make a piece with cork. I respond to the advertisement, buy the package, which entitles me to accommodation and transport, and the benefit of support from people here, who take me to work with the artisan and help me», he described.

In the end, the designer has the option of taking the piece with them and keeping it or they can come to an agreement so that the piece stays here.

Many ideas that, hopes João Ministro, will help the TASA project to become more and more viable, both financially and in terms of its main objective: the preservation of the Algarve's ancestral knowledge.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues|Sul Informação