Say Hello to Mara

By Lala the Sunchaser.

I first met Mara months ago at a pizza party where we shared only a few pleasantries then bid each other a good night. The next time we talked it would be for over an hour at a friend’s going away party. We took turns lying in the communal hammock on the roof of a popular hostel, sharing stories about our lives and what brought us to Itacaré. Rosemara Borgens de Carvalho, or Mara as her friends and family call her, was born in the neighboring town of Taboquinas. She has been living in Itacaré for more than twenty years. Her story inspired me and I’m glad that Mara was willing to share it with you.
mara_dancaDescribe Itacaré in three words.
(HUGE SMILE!) Belisimo! Exuberant! Exotic!

What do you do here? I have been working as an artist for the last ten years. At first it was a kind of therapy, but now it’s how I make my living. I’m co-owner of an accessory shop on Pituba. I also assist an English teacher in my neighborhood of Barrio Novo two nights weekly. I adore working with children.
At the party, you shared your story about how this shop came about. Please tell me again.
For six years, I had been working in Infant Education. My focus was teaching young children how to read and write. I also worked as a Nanny from time to time and was hired to work    in Salvador. One day my boss was admiring the blouse and hairpiece I was wearing. I told her that I made them both. She was taken aback and demanded that I return home immediately. She told me, “You are an artist Mara. What are you doing here working for me? Go back to your city and open a shop, make art. You have a gift.”

The following day I returned to Itacaré and noticed this location was for rent. (I conducted the interview in her shop on the main road.) I contacted the owner and signed the papers that day … I didn’t have any money, nothing. The rent was R$400 so I ask three of my girlfriends to open it with me and invest R$100 each. They weren’t aware that I had already signed the papers. It was like something was pushing me … a little voice that said, “Go, Try, You Can Do It!” In hindsight, I believe that when you really want something, you find a way. And when you don’t, you make excuses.

How did you learn to make clothes and accessories?
I didn’t take a course or study formally. A good friend who is now one of my partners at the shop makes clothes; I asked her to give me her left-over fabric, the scraps. I would recycle them, making fuxico and hair pieces; and now, that’s what I do.
What inspires your work?
Colors … vibrant colors.

Do you believe in God?
Yes. God is a figure … pure and perfect. The creator who is superior to all of us.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love samba … dancing, singing, and listening to it. My favorites are Maria Rita and Alcione. I also like to “people watch” especially at the beach.
What is your favorite Itacaré beach?
Resende … when I am there I am transformed … all worries disappear. I feel light and free.
What’s in store for the future of Itacaré?
It’s a city that is progressing but there are two sides: one positive and one negative. On the positive side, businesses are growing, there are more jobs, and better technology. However, this type of progression brings pollution, more garbage, drugs, crime and violence. This is a world-wide problem but it is more impactful in a small town like Itacaré.

I would like the city officials and the residents to invest more energy and money in education, professional courses, and cultural arts then sports being last. This is important to me because I have two children, ages fifteen and thirteen. They attend the public school in town.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
Oh goodness, this is difficult … I will pick one for my work, one for me, and one for the world.
1) Professional: I want to grow as an artist and business owner … to evolve and earn my way.
2) Individual: To find romantic love … someone who wants to share everything.
3) World: That each person will experience peace. There is too much violence and war in the world.
Last question Mara, what is your favorite restaurant?
Malagueta, the spaghetti bolognese is delicious.

Mara and I could have easily talked all night. As she closed the shop, she shared another story about one of her many jobs as a receptionist in a funeral parlor. I couldn’t imagine her surround by grieving people and coffins. She was nearly in tears when she described how sad it was to have to sell things to people while they were in mourning. I’m happy she found her passion and Itacaré is better for it.

ART made with love by KAU

By KalaLea.

When Kau first arrived in Itacaré eighteen years ago, there were no supermarkets, no resorts and only one bar called Bar do Senior Santana in town. Born in Bella Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Kau was 33 years old when she hopped off the bus with her (now) husband. Her first memory of Itacaré was the smell of the ocean and the abundance of nature. She immediately regretted putting this trip off for months and fell in love at first sight.
A budding English speaker, Kau and I met in one of my English classes at Casarão Amarelo. After class she invited me to her shop and upon entering I knew I had to write about this sweet, happy and talented artist. Take note, there are no shortage of artists in Itacaré but Kau is one of the brightest stars in the bunch.
kau_portraitWhen asked what inspires her, she gave me a warm smile and said, “colors inspire me to create. I particularly love the many colors of beads (micangas)”. Before coming to Itacaré, Kau lived for three months in Morro de Sau Paulo living only off of selling her bead work.

Kau`s Art Boutique is a warm and colorful little shop on the main road aka Pituba. One of her specialties is fuxico, a brilliant way to use leftover pieces of fabric that may otherwise be thrown away. The word comes from the word “fuxicar” which means to gossip which is exactly what the women who worked in this artform did when sitting around a large table.

kau_shopWhere did you stay when you first came to Itacaré?
I came with my husband to Gravatar Pousada and every night during the week I would sell my artwork in the front.

When did you open your shop?
I opened my first store in 1998 and everything I sold was made with my own hands. Then in 2004, I opened this shop on Pituba. I don`t have the time to make everything any more but I do what I can.
Itacaré has changed a great deal over the last 18 years, has it changed for the better or worse?
It depends on how one sees things, I think it has changed for the better but it`s not as peaceful — especially during the summer or high season.

What is your favorite restuarant in Itacaré?
Encanto de Artes for their pasta dishes (massas).

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I have only traveled around some parts of Brazil and Argentina; however, I would still say Itacaré. It is my Port Seguro (safe haven). There is something special about this place, a strong pulling and positive energy.

What type of music do you like and name your favorite artists.
Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) and Rock
1) Geraldo Azevedo 2) My favorite song is Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
My wish would be not to lose my inspiration nor my health so that I can always create which makes me feel happy and complete.

Kau`s Art is open every day. In addition to fuxico and fitas de cetim (bracelets), Kau makes and sells tee shirts, handbags, home decorations and much much more. And don`t forget to check the promotion basket for special deals.