{the interview series} Paula Valentim | otchipotchi

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Hoje trago-vos uma artista portuguesa... chama-se Paula Valentim, mas é também conhecida por otchitpotchi. Ela trabalha em cerâmica e traça um percurso inspirador nas peças que cria, cuja beleza transborda para o seu blog repleto de fotografias deliciosas. Já antes falei de Paula Valentim aqui no blog, mas hoje vou deixar que sejam as suas palavras a iluminar-vos... leiam!

Não se esqueçam que podem seguir {the interview series} no facebook e reler todas as anteriores entrevistas aqui.
(Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.)

Today I bring you a Portuguese artist... her name is Paula Valentim, but she's also known as otchitpotchi. She works in ceramics and traces an inspiring path in the pieces she creates, whose beauty spills into her blog full of delicious photographs. I've written before about Paula Valentim here on the blog, but today I'll let her words enlighten you... read along!

Don't forget to follow {the interview series} on facebook and to read all the previous interviews here.

Paula Valentim | otchipotchi
somewhere in the middle of Portugal
site | blog | shop

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Paula Valentim. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in the big city but I’m a small town girl • I lived for many years in an even bigger city but I continued to be a small town girl • I like challenges and moving and spent a long time searching… I still search! • before I decided that I wanted to be a ceramist I was a librarian at a university caring for the words in books and helping students finding their way around • I cannot live without big, open, breathable skies nor without trees and flowers and silence sometimes • I work and live in a small town.

2. You work in ceramics, a delicate and patient art. I read in your blog that this is a relatively recent discovery… How was this creative passion born?
I “discovered” ceramics more than 10 years ago in some evening classes when I was living in London and while studying for a masters in information services management • I used to go to the classes once a week and did it for about 1 year • years later when I returned to Portugal I saw the chance of changing my life and took a ceramics course which I completed in autumn 2009, set up my studio and started to work from home about one year ago in spring 2010.

3. otchipotchi is such a cute and unusual name! When was this brand born and why is it called like that?
I created otchipotchi just before starting the ceramics course and when I had my first blog back in 2006 • at that time I was making and selling some clothes and fabric bags under the name otchipotchi • it seemed a good name to use when I set up the more commercial part of my ceramics work • the name doesn’t have any meaning (as far as I know!) and it was invented by me from playing with some english words • I just like the sound of it!

4. What’s the difference between otchipotchi line and Paula Valentim’s work?
otchipotchi’s work is reproduced several times • paula valentim’s work is one off pieces with a little bit more thinking and challenges behind.

5. You have your creations for sale in several cities and even countries. What means do you use to promote your work?
the internet.

6. What is creating for you: a profession, a passion, a necessity, a life style or a hobby?
to live.

7. I can see that your work is very influenced by nature and simplicity. Tell us a bit about your creative process.
I don’t have any particular creative process • I don’t sit down and write or draw or think too much about it • I simply look around me and ideas come into mind and everything is created from there • I do a lot of experiments and work in the pieces until I find they are right and I’m pleased with what I see.

8. As a cat lover, I can’t resist to know more about Matilda! I believe she helps you a lot during your day at work… right? How would you describe a regular day at work?
with a cat?!… matilda drives me nuts because she is always sitting on top of work, always very curious about that “new thing which wasn’t there just now”, always gets inside boxes or bags, and “steals” remnants of dried porcelain and carries them around the house, leaving a trail of dust behind, and drinks from the water full of porcelain I use to clean pieces, as soon as I’m at the computer she sits on my lap with her front legs on my arm which makes it hard when I want to type, or grabs little brushes and tools and has fun playing with them around the house and then leaves them hidden somewhere under furniture and I cannot find them when I need to work… but when I look to her little “innocent” face I just have to smile… I adore her!

9. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
I work in a small room at home, an improvised area of the house • I love the light in there and I listen to the birds all day.

10. I’ve read that you lived in London in the past and now you live in the Portuguese countryside. Do you think that the time and place where you live have great influence in your work? Would you like to live anywhere else?
yes, my surroundings have a lot of influence in my work • I’m quite happy where I live right now.

11. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I like to live “now”, despite all the difficulties and challenges we face at the moment.

12. Reading your blog I get overwhelmed, not only by your work, but also by your beautiful photos. Is photography another passion of yours?
thank you! • not really! I like some good photographic work but that is not me • I know nothing about photography and I simply snap whatever the subject is to feed the blog and flickr or for anything to do with work and that’s it! most of the time I don’t even carry a camera with me • not much of a photographer I must say.

13. You say that “after doing many distinct things in life I decided to swap a settled job for the challenges of becoming a ceramist” – what do you think are the biggest challenges?
self-discipline • stay focused on work (nowadays there are too many tempting distractions around us!).

14. What advices would you give to someone who would like to learn a bit more about ceramics?
go for it • work hard • and don’t despair!

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
grow and simplify • ummmm … I don’t think I have any unrealistic dreams!

Now some quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes! Tell us one:
now, this is very difficult! for me there is not only one, that would be looking at life in a “black and white” sort of way and I prefer to see it in different beautiful shades of gray.

book: too many to choose and preferences change with time and circumstances
music: to many to choose but I listen mainly to classical and jazz
movie: too many to choose but I like cinema with poetic/dreamy photography
personality/artist: too many to choose but I like people with a vision
color: they are all beautiful depending on the context and other colours around
object: an empty space filled with natural light filtered by vegetation
animal: cats and dogs, birds and butterflies, any that make me smile… even tiny spiders!
drink: plain water
food: natural fresh homemade soups (I could live on soups!)
season of the year: autumn / winter
travel destination: somewhere open and very close to nature but not tropical
piece of clothing: coats
secret: it is a secret!

Thank you for adding a subtle but intense beauty to this series, Paula!


  1. Thanks so much for this interview ! Just bought a wall vase to add to my collection !

  2. great interview Ana! I've been a fan of Paula's work and her fabulous blog, it's lovely to know more about her :-)

  3. I am such a big fan of her work! Thanks for this lovely interview

  4. É muito bom conhecer um pouco mais as pessoas cujo trabalho se admira, como o da Paula! É a poesia materializada...

  5. Her work is so pure and organic! Thank you for introducing us!

  6. I love Paula's work and her blog is so calm and beautiful. Great interview.

  7. What a lovely interview, it was fun reading it.

  8. I love to know more about Paula, I realy like her work.
    Cris Couto

  9. a Paula é daquelas pessoas que admiro muito à distância :-)

    loved reading you, dear Paula!

  10. :) A giant smile! A pleasure to read!


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