The Commerce

Foto: Humberto Capai

The Art of Living from the Shells.

At the beginning, the selling of the shell craft were made with the pieces placed on towels spread on the large sidewalks of Guarapari.

Trying to avoid the increasing number of illegal sellers in the beaches, the county of these coastal cities forbade the sales of products without documentation, making no distinctions between industrialized and hand-made products.

The artisans had to run away from the local police, because they confiscated their products.

The necessity to express their talent and create products that could guarantee the subsistence of their families made the artisans persist, thus allowing the growth and popularity of the shell artifacts in the littoral of Espírito Santo.

These artists used to make souveniers, writing in them with black paint: “Made in Paquetá” or "Made in Copacabana", in Rio de Janeiro, or “Made in Salvador”, Bahia (1)... depending on the beach in fashion at the moment, or according to the preference of the tourist interested in buying or reselling the product.

The publication of the book, “O Mundo Encantado das Conchas” (The Enchanted World of Shells) changed this scenario, attracting public and media attention to the quality and beauty of this craft, typical of the region. Shows were realized in different locals, films and documentaries were produced, elevating the shell craft to the category of art.

These actions were relevant in changing the social and cultural perception or these objects, thus incrementing the appreciation of the product and their acceptance by the fashion world. Expanding to other southern cities of the state, the shell craft was able to quickly adapt to the social and environmental changes occurring in the region, furthermore, changing the work conditions that regulates its own market.

The shell craft from the “capixaba” (2) southern coast became a reason of pride for the population, reflecting in each piece the characteristics of each artisan.

Photo: Glauco Frizzera

(1) Rio de Janeiro, Bahia - Brazilian States.
(2) Capixaba: native of the state of Espírito Santo. By extension, the term nominates everything related to the State.