ARTISANS

Masters

The artisans initially used the shells in the home-made production of necklaces and bracelets. Mostly a family cottage industry, one of these pioneer women was Maria das Neves, who passed away at 85, who cut the shells with nail pliers. Her granddaughters, Devanida and Elaci, both wives of fishermen, are still today harvesting, collecting, and making necklaces. The importance of the art craft in their lives is thus expressed by Devanida: “If today I’m ‘clothed’, it was with the help of God and the shell artifact”.

From the initial creation of necklaces, the art craft developed to create figures of animals, people, and objects. In this new fashion, Cecília Pitanga Pinto, in 1939, was making shell objects d’art, creating a business named “IBAC, Indústria de Bibelôs Artísticos em Conchas” (Shells’ Object d’art Industry). The production stopped with her death, in 1972, because she had no followers nor created a tradition in Vila Velha, where she lived.

In Guarapari, where the art craft had its peak from the 60s to the 80s, mainly because the city was the best spot to sell the product to the tourists, the most expressive artisans were Olga Zaché and Madame Cruz. However, their work did not grow to diversification of the objects created, to the creation of new artisans, or for the production in series.

Maria Helena Schineider was a collector who started selling shells to the artisans and became an artisan herself, gathering, creating, and selling her craft. Her son, inheriting her skills, is still living today from the shellcraft.