Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Craft Guerrilla goes to Porto (part 2)...

I've known Carina Constantino for a long time - I'll spare the details as neither of us look our age so not wishing to give that away I won't say how many years it's been - anyway a girl's gotta keep some secrets... BUT me and Carina go back a long time and what never ceases to amaze me is the energy she still harnesses both in her work, attitude and spirit!


Address: rua Ribeiro de Sousa 225-229
4250-408 porto

The window display tease viewers to what awaits inside to be discovered....

I visited her beautiful studio in Porto, a former car show room/garage though you'd never tell by the facade, beautiful wooden framed windows in a sweeping art nouveau style greet visitors as they step through the threshold and enter a welcoming, soft, dreamlike space which is also dark and mysterious which simultaneously embraces and smacks you with the full force of her creativity.

Light bulbs carry wings to guide visitors in...

The main gallery space... a creative area lives behind a beautiful red curtain keeping an air of surprise, theater and promise to all who visit!

Carina uses everyday materials like card and paper to make 3D you'll read houses feature heavily in her work...

I've been meaning to visit "Quasiloja"* for a few years now and I'm so glad I finally did because apart from visiting someone I absolutely love and admire it reminded me just why I still keep working in the creative sector. Carina is an inspiration and a true force of nature!

*"Quasiloja" which translated means "almost-a-shop"

"Quasiloja" is both a creative space and a venue which hosts exhibitions - both Carina's work and that of guest artists - workshops, parties and also works as a creative space open to all! To say it's a shop is not correct, hence the name, as it encompasses a whole way of life... it's much more then any label or title could ever explain.

Because of wanting to add my European crafty adventures to the blog and wanting to expose true talent along my travels I asked Carina if I could interview her and she kindly complied. So if you'd like to know a little bit more about this amazing artist read on...

Carina at work...

Tell us a bit about you?
My name is Carina Constantino. I was born in Brussels, but I'm Portuguese, and I've lived in Porto since 1987.

What makes you wake up in the morning?
The smell of coffee...

little figurines adorn pretty painted shelves which were selvaged and transformed by Carina.

Little houses & animal masks live on the walls of the gallery...

Why use craft methods to create your work?
It's the most effective method I've found to recreate my universe, tap into my visual taste and to materialise my dreams. I have lots of dreams and I love the deconstruction of the conventional...

A small selection of Carina's work which is available to buy in the shop...

You offer workshops to people, what are the greatest barriers in getting people to join?
Certainly it's what happens every where else - the lack of correspondence to reality and to what people say they want! The problem with living in such a virtual world is that sometimes we put it out there and nothing else comes from it because that's all it is and it remains there (online) just as information...

As a gallery and shop owner what are you greatest challenges?
Creating a specific world where a visitor can enter and leave reality at the door. I look for an oneiric language which offers a common link within humanity. To dream is a very common human wish.
Also a desire to forget the formality in form which exists far too much in the day to day, everything has a rule to follow, a pattern... I'm not a great fan of this! And seeing the light in things... if something seems really dark I like to look deeper.

How would you describe "Quasiloja" to someone who's never been here?
A place which allows anyone who enters to engage with the fantastical side. The objective in itself is a pretext, I use the materials to create a a palpable dream scape.

"I dreamt of a house like this" Carina's take on her dreams which feature heavily in her work...

How do you describe your work?
Intimate, something which I grab from my memories. That's pretty much the patent in my latest project: "I dreamt of a house like this"
I'd like to live in a world like this, a world of possibilities... the deconstruction of reality, the conventional, a world of possibilities where my artistic language is concrete and becomes a reality. It's like giving a voice to the many inner worlds I hold in me.

The walls of the gallery were painstakingly and lovingly made from a rescued shed which was dismantled and re-used to cover the walls of "Quasiloja"

How do you work through the process?
The work begins in a very instinctive way, evolving like a dream which is dependent on the materials, the way they relate to each other and like a dream they grow and evolve through the process of execution within the piece I'm working on. The materials in themselves become the fabric of the dream. The memory of the materials also take on their own space, incorporating a new destination incubated within my own artistic expression. For example I cut the boards which once formed a shed and working in true scale I re created a door which once held the history of all the people who once crossed it, a memory, a genetic mark of every and each material which is involved in the process.
The symbolic meaning of the door, the window is always present in my work, like a passageway, an opening and a closing, a thread which marks the trajectory to the window which is tense and fine.
Are we looking for a way out? Or looking to keep a connection? There's always two sides which cohabit like light and dark, but what is always left open is the possibility of dreaming!

Mixed media work by Carina...tiny little fragments of dreams which have been translated into beautiful paintings which you can buy and take home...

Miniature dresses sweetly hang on the walls like pretty little ghosts waiting to be noticed and remembered!

Houses, fairies, creatures and dream like imagery feature in Carina's amazing work!

Why do you choose to work in Porto?
I didn't but I came to Porto when I was 17 years old to study for only a year or two without ever intending to stay... but I made a life here and I like Porto though I could be somewhere else, somewhere where I could be happier!

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
There's a lack of love... we need more love... universal love... true love!

Thank you Carina for being you and for being so welcoming! We're honoured to have been let in to your world any for you allowing us to share it with our readers!!!

Any advice to budding artists/ designer makers?
I haven't any advice to give but I would suggest that most importantly that you follow your heart!

To find out more about Carina and her amazing work visit:

Shop online:

Face book:
If you have any crafty superstars that you'd like us to check out leave a comment or if you like Carina's work don't be shy... we'd love to hear your thoughts!

No comments: