Viana do Castelo Traditional Embroidery
Our traditions are inspirational and that’s why we use them in our creations. It is the case with the embroidery, an important tradition in Northern Portugal, especially in Viana do Castelo.
The formal origin of this craft took place in 1917. As a common skill among women from the countryside, embroidery was transformed into an economic occupation as an initiative of the Portuguese Women’s Crusade. The purpose was to alleviate Portuguese families’ misery after the men had been sent off to war. This handcraft is an example of women’s resilience and struggle against poverty and an affirmation of their roles as the strength of their families.
The motifs resulted exclusively from the women’s creativity. They were embroidered intuitively, without resorting to a design.
Viana do Castelo’s embroidery is mainly found in home textile products. The most common motifs are:
The heart, the heart-flowers, the clover (three or four leaf), flowers, the carnation (meaning matrimonial fidelity), marias and stars, among others.
The main connecting elements in the patterns are the stems and “silvas”.
The snails, the buttons (less common nowadays), and the fill-in motifs such as the balls, the spiders, the stars, just to name a few.
Some of the most inspiring motifs are the centers in the simple sieve pattern, the stem stitch and the blanket stitch.
A wonderful source of inspiration and another tradition where women play the primary role, these patterns are worth being portrayed through jewellery.
For this reason, we will continue to honor women, by giving a woman’s name to each piece of jewellery in the Vianense Collection. This time, we also took into consideration the legend behind the collection’s namesake city: in this city, the story about the boatman who falls in love with Ana and who often repeated: I saw (vi) Ana (ViAna). That’s how names like ViAna, ViAurora, ViAmélia were born.
Note: Embroidery of Viana do Castelo “Bordado de Viana do Castelo” is a trademark belonging to the Municipality of Viana do Castelo.