C A T I A

 Lisbon | 2018

C A T I A 

City  Lisbon
Age  43
Love life Single
Profession Ceramist
Years in Lisbon All her life
Location Her own ceramic studio Caulino Ceramics (“My baby”)

T H E  L I S B O N  S T O R I E S

‘I LIKE TO

VENTURE OUT

AND MOVE BEYOND

ANY LIMITATIONS’

  • What makes you really happy? “Reading, working, listening to music and travelling. I recently went to Marrakech for a week. When you spend time on your own and you’re far away from your daily routine, you get to know yourself better. I am in a phase where I’m beginning to discover new parts of myself. I’ve found out that I am very nice company for myself and that I am very open to people. I always thought I was shy, but I’m not. I enjoy it a lot to interact with others when I am travelling. I travelled a lot in my twenties working as a model, but when I was young, I didn’t realise how special it is to meet people from other places and cultures. And in my thirties I had to stop travelling, because I was working so hard to establish my own ceramics studio. It was ok, because I love my work, but now is the time to start doing other things I love again.”
  • What makes you different than other people? “That I think for myself. I’m sure more people do that, but I have consciously chosen my own path. I never did anything just because my parents or society expected me to do it. Portugal is a small and very conservative country. I was born in the seventies after the revolution and we were supposed to behave in a certain way. But I like to venture out, be free and move beyond any limitations. As a child I already had quite a temper, and it got stronger when I grew up. During high school, I already worked in a clothing shop and during university I worked as a model. I earned good money, became independent, bought my own house and left my parent’s place. That was unusual in the nineties, especially because of my very young age. My parents thought I should get a ‘real job’. That didn’t make sense to me – I already had a serious job with responsibilities and I was already earning money. But ‘real work’ apparently meant working in an office and wearing a suit. It was difficult and hard to find my own path, but I always knew that I wanted to do something creative. When I started ceramics, I knew I had found my passion. So when I stopped modelling in my thirties, I started working at night in bars and restaurants to pay for my own ceramics studio. Five years ago I was able to quit those other jobs, because my ceramics studio became successful. I am really happy how my life turned out. And I’m not alone in this anymore, I meet more and more people who are like me.”
  • What is your biggest struggle in life?
    “I think learning how to fully live and enjoy life. I am reading The Rosy Crucifixion by Henry Miller at the moment. Sometimes, when you’re at a certain point in your life, you start reading something that resonates with that. Miller writes beautifully, he describes his struggle to find his own path as a writer and I can relate to it. It’s about life, about doing everything that you want to do, about being you and being free. I am almost at that point in my life, I am growing, I’m starting to feel like an adolescent now, haha!”

  • What is your biggest life lesson?
    “Sadness will pass and you will be ok again. Life will even get better than it was before, because you grow through pain. You find a strength in you that you couldn’t imagine existed, even when your heart is broken. Although I am still a little bit scared of heartbreak, and don’t give myself completely because of this. That is something I want to improve.”
  • What is your biggest disappointment?
    “That I will never have enough time to read all the books I want to read and see all the places I would like to see. People can disappoint me as well. Maybe being honest isn’t easy for everyone, but I don’t want to spend my energy on those people anymore, I want to leave it behind and move on. If people aren’t honest, it’s worse for them. I want to be upset about more important things, like not having enough time to make all the journeys that I want to make. I’m 43, and my list goes on and on and on. I think it’s a phase, I am excited because I am discovering many things about myself now. I’m on something of a high, haha! I’m afraid that this feeling is going to change soon.”
  • What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
    “Listening to my gut feeling. Of course I was young and insecure when I decided to follow my own path, but deep down inside I already felt this strength. I imagined there had to be something else out there, even though I had never seen it. But the best thing that really happened to me, was meeting new people when I started to work as a model. Those photographers and fashion designers were so different from the people I used to know. They showed me the world I needed to see.”
  • What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
    “My art history teacher from university always said: go to the gardens in Lisbon, open a bottle of champagne and just celebrate! Me and my classmates used to go to his house on Sunday mornings ‘to get the creative parts of our brain running better’, as he would put it.”
  • What advice would you give other women in Europe?
    “We only have one life, we have to do things now. But another part of me wants to say that we should be responsible and honest and conscious of the world we are living in. Another simple advice is, do what you like, it’s so important. Then you have something that gives you strength when everything comes falling down and you suffer. Although I realise it wasn’t only my passion that helped me during difficult times, but also my inner strength. But still, it’s so important to do what you love, because you spend so much time working. Although I don’t want to work that much anymore, so another advice would be, go for a drink with friends, travel, live lighter, do more with less money and less stuff.”
  • What are you insecure about?
    “I am less insecure now. Five years ago, this interview would make me feel very anxious. I would worry about what to stay instead of just enjoying our conversation like I do now. Many things that used to make me tense give me pleasure now. I am determined to enjoy every moment of life. I only want to do things I feel connected to and stop worrying about what other people think of me. I used to look up to other people, but we are just different, so I trust myself now.”
  • What does Lisbon mean to you?
    “It’s home. When I was younger, I felt that there was something missing in Lisbon. I thought I could find that missing piece in New York, with all the exhibitions, museums and the books they sold, because back then, we didn’t have those things in Portugal. But now that we do, Lisbon is perfect. I also like Lisbon because of all the memories, like seeing myself walking with my grandfather through an old part of the city and playing in one of the gardens we visited.
    The people in Lisbon and Portugal are really sweet and authentic, I love that. Everybody knows each other, from the taxi driver to the guy from the coffee shop. But if we meet someone new, we don’t tend to open up immediately. I am, because I have no filters, haha! But especially women in Lisbon need to get to know someone new a bit first. The downside of having so many friendly people, is that you can’t be anonymous in Lisbon. Everyone knows each other and if you want to be alone in a bar or restaurant, it’s quite difficult, because there is always someone who wants to talk to you. But on the other hand, Lisbon is the best place to go out alone. You will always find someone to talk to.”

Photos by Luís Luz

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