My name is Ana Bossa, and I work in ceramics, illustration, and film animation; I also teach kids. I live in Lisbon, Portugal, but my roots are split between the small village in the countryside where my parents are from and the south of Portugal, where I grew up. My shop Murtiga is named for a river near my parents’ homeland.
My work is a form of self-expression; it’s a bit like a mirror to my identity. I like to imagine stories and create characters, so I suppose my Murtiga sculptures are the result of this narrative. I would love to have studied biology, but art was my calling. Art is the way I explore human and animal behavior.
I started getting into ceramics without even realizing it. My interest started while I was living in the Portuguese countryside – this area has a great pottery tradition, and I spent a lot of time with two traditional potters in their workshop. I was completely captivated by the stories they told as their clay figures took shape, and I also got the feeling that they were illustrating my cultural identity. Even though we were just sitting around a table, their hands never stopped shaping the clay. At some point, I guess mine started helping.
I’m the biggest critic of my work. On any given day, the creative process can be frustrating or rewarding, but I won’t know until I’m finished. Sometimes while I’m working, I remind myself that the clay has whim and shape. These words help me remember that creative methods aren’t scientific, nor do they follow consistent standards.
Being on Etsy has allowed me to send Murtiga beings all over the world. Sharing my work with people from other cultures is important to me; I believe it gives my artistic identity an echo and creates a new universal language. I’ve also found that communicating by virtual means isn’t necessarily less personal – I have clients that have come back several times because they feel that human connection, and they know that there’s someone in Portugal who cares for them.
Fortunately, the near future is full of projects that combine my interests – soon, my sculptures will be the protagonists in a stop-motion film! I’m also working on many new figures for my Etsy shop and preparing to move to a new, bigger workspace. There, I hope to fulfill requests for classes and finally put together an exhibition space where artists and artisans from different fields can show their work and exchange their knowledge.
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All photographs by Nuno Bouça.