April 19, 2012

Stitches with Portuguese soul

Olá! My name is Gabriela (but you can call me Gabi) and I have a story to tell. A story made of history, culture and tradition, made of many stitches with Portuguese soul.

portugal close-up
Map of Portugal embroidered
in flag colors by Soraia
I come from Portugal, “a little spot planted by the seashore”, the most western country of Europe. A really small country, but independent since the 12th century and claiming to be the oldest European nation-state.

Our history is a story telling of what we now call globalization. We were occupied by Celts, Romans, Visigoths - only to name some… And we started an age of adventures sailing through Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America. It’s cool to think we were the pioneers of globalization

Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with embroidery stitches… Someone explained it better than me: “What may seem like a simple piece of decorated fabric is, in reality, a summary of a fertile culture that has a million stories to tell, all born from its rich and colorful history.”(1)

I invite you to come this year round and get to be familiar with the stitches of this “melting pot” country. Stitches that claim to have a Portuguese soul, though I cannot assure that this soul is more Visigothic, Moorish or Indian...

Our stitches can be popular and colorful

as cores do minho
Embroidered typical costumes by Rosino

Charming and sober

Madeira Embroidery (1)
Madeira embroidery by Madeira Islands Tourism

Or sophisticated and silky

Castelo Branco
My own piece of Castelo Branco embroidery - a wedding gift

Share and enjoy this journey with me and I’ll try to show you old time and modern stitches… Proving that we can be inspired by tradition and still be fresh and original as long as we remain true to our soul… In my case, a true Portuguese soul…

Did you notice? I started this post teaching you what might have been your first word in Portuguese, “olá”, meaning “hello” in English... You can step by every Thursday and I’ll teach you many more. You’ll have a whole year to learn Portuguese...


  1. oh my, droooooooooooool!  how exquisite, and I really LOVE the wedding gift peice. 

  2. What a fantastic new weekly feature! My grandfather was born in the Azores and came to the US at age 7. His whole life was about assimilation--I didn't hear him speak Portuguese until, literally, the last days of his life, when he was hallucinating. So thank you, Gabi--I'm looking forward to learning more about my own heritage and its intersection with this handwork I enjoy so much myself.

  3. I am looking forward to Thursdays already!  I do not know anything about Portugal at all so I am in for a treat.  Thank you for your very interesting blog Gabi and look forward to where your "Portuguese Soul" may lead me .........

  4. Moro no Brasil mas já vivi em Portugal a 5 anos atras e tenho imensas saudades de lá.
    Espero anciosa pelas quintas...


  5. I look forward to your posts and welcome you.

  6. Ah, isso será TÃO legal!

    acho os bordados portugueses muito bonitos, mas assumo que só conhecia como caracteristicamente português mesmo os primeiros...sou brasileira e, por mais que eu tenha uma avó portuguesa, não conheço muito a cultura (a não ser certas características que já estão enraizadas na nossa cultura brasileira ^^)

  7. Love it! Portuguese embroidery is very rich, creative and full of diversity ! 

  8. Olá, Gabriela! Obrigada por nos apresentar ao magnífico universo dos bordados portugueses! 

  9. Lovely post! Can't wait to see what's coming!

  10. Olá!! It's so nice to see that "the Portuguese soul" is present worldwide... For those that don't speak Portuguese: some of the comments come from Brazil, where they speak Portuguese with a charming accent...

    I'm so happy with your comments and I will be forever grateful to Floresita for this fantastic opportunity. See you soon :))

  11. Obrigada Gabriela por divulgar os "nossos" bordados!
    Bem haja

  12. Olá Gabi, Parabéns! Adorei o post!!

  13. Adorei o site e vou seguir estes posts! Muitos parabéns Gabriela e continue sempre! Um beijinho da Teresa Margarida

  14. Congratulations Gabi! I'm sure you'll be an inspiration to many people :)

  15. Parabéns Gabi! Way to go!!! bjs. rita s

  16. Parabéns Gabi, tenho a certeza que vai ser uma inspiração, a tarefa não podia estar em melhores mãos :) vai ser um sucesso :) Beijinho