The future of goldsmithing, through the eyes of two silversmiths Faro

The artists work at Gama Rama, an art gallery located in Baixa de Faro

“It’s difficult, it’s a struggle. We never know if tomorrow we will have clients, if we will be able to survive on art”, says Ana Gregório, resident goldsmith at the Gama Rama gallery, in Faro.

Goldsmithing, a traditional profession that has always been dominated mainly by men, has been falling into oblivion. Two women goldsmiths, with different professional experiences, tell how their paths brought them to this art.

The artists work at Gama Rama, an art gallery located in Baixa de Faro. This space houses several studios from different areas, as well as the goldsmithing workshop.

Ana Gregório, 41 years old, born in Sintra, has always had a passion for creating jewelry, but her path to entering this field of activity was not always easy. Ana was forced to “forget” for a while about the idea of ​​becoming a goldsmith.



“At the time, the courses I found were all very expensive and I gave up on goldsmithing”, says Ana. Years passed and, thanks to a friend, who asked her for some pieces to deliver to his customers using materials and disposable computer parts, Ana returned searching for courses in your area, in order to respond to your friend's request. It was then that she found the Jewelery Center, in Lisbon.

Joana Neves, 25 years old and born in Fuseta, says that goldsmithing came into her life naturally. In her family, it is tradition for women to pass jewelry between them, but Joana never really dreamed of being a goldsmith.



He was studying Law when, at the end of the 2nd year, he decided to drop out. Looking for something he would like to pursue in terms of profession, the idea of ​​goldsmithing came to mind. He ended up taking the same course as Ana, at the Jewelry Center, in Lisbon, and another at CINDOR – Professional Training Center for the Goldsmithing and Watchmaking Industry, in Porto.

Ana has been at Gama Rama since the gallery was getting ready to open. After finishing the course, she moved to the Algarve, as her husband was residing in the Algarve. At the time, she was working from home and started looking for a studio to set up her studio. It was about a month and a half ago that he invited Joana to share the space at the gallery.

Gama Rama made it possible to create countless opportunities for these goldsmiths. Ana states that her presence at the gallery boosted her art, as initiatives organized by Gama Rama, such as Open Studios, and her presence at fairs and exhibitions, have enabled her to grow her audience and a consequent exponential growth of your job.



Joana, despite having less time at home, highlights the importance of having a studio to work in, access to machines and tools and the ease of having someone by her side with more experience in the area, with whom she can exchange ideas and doubts. The mutual assistance between the two goldsmiths is noteworthy and can be seen when visiting the studio.

If there was any theory according to which artists lack a working method, these two confirmed it. Goldsmith Joana says with laughter: “I don’t organize myself. There isn't exactly a working method. There are things to do, you prioritize according to delivery dates, if one project interests you more than another you end up giving it more importance.”

Ana divides her time between the pieces she creates for client orders, exhibitions at fairs and stores. Those that are created based on her personal taste, like rings, are her favorite pieces of jewelry to create. When it comes to the materials used to make the various pieces, the most used are leather, silver and brass.



One tactic that has made it possible to attract audiences has been the workshops organized by the Gama Rama gallery. At first, they were just in groups, but Ana began to realize that she was losing people. So, she began organizing individualized workshops so that more people could continue to put their interest in goldsmithing into practice.

The goldsmith also tends to give workshops outside the gallery, especially in the high summer season, in Vale do Lobo.

Despite knowing that the profession they practice is not at the top of the most practiced, the goldsmiths plan to continue doing what they love most, creating jewelry.

Joana aspires to one day create her own brand, through which she can create, sell and exhibit her own pieces. Ana intends to continue as a resident artist at the gallery or, if the possibility arises, in her own space.



The continuation of this traditional profession is threatened and the two goldsmiths confess to some discouragement regarding the future of the art.

“It is forgotten in the country and there is a lot of bureaucracy associated with it”, laments Joana, the most recent goldsmith. When asked about the possibility of leaving Portugal, Joana states that she does not see the need, “but it will be much more difficult in Portugal than in any other part of the world”.

Ana, who has been in the field for longer, says she has little hope for the future of goldsmithing. It highlights the difficulty in finding and keeping customers and the uncertainty about the continuity of this market.

Despite the difficulty of succeeding in this area, Ana conveys a positive message for anyone who wants to venture into the area. “Don’t give up, be persistent. If this is really what you want to do, it’s to keep going,” she advises. The future of the profession does not look very bright, but hope is the last to die.



Text and photos by Ana Beatriz Bento, carried out as part of the 22|24 Professional Photography course at ETIC_Algarve, School of Technologies, Innovation and Creation of the Algarve.




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