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How the beauty of tile paintings in Portugal has inspired the fashion world

Looking at the designs below you cannot fail to see how unusual and unique they are.  Take a look around the next time you are shopping and see if you can spot similar influences on clothes, shoes, bags, ear rings, nails and even home accessories.   So where do these ideas come from?   Surprisingly we need to go back into Portuguese history to look at tile painting, or Azulejos painting as it is known, to understand more.

A small selection of beautiful “azulejos” inspired designs in fashion:

A brief history of Azulejos painting in Portugal  •  By David Whitley – 24 May 2014

The Museu de Nacional in Lisbon (left) and a Portuguese tile painter (right)

“The blue-and-white tiles that line the church of Lisbon’s Madre de Deus convent complex tell stories in engrossing detail: Moses and the Burning Bush, the life of Santa Clara, the works of St Francis of Assisi. The tiles, called azulejos, are not only compelling, they are also uniquely Portuguese – which is why, in 1971, the convent became the centrepiece of the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, a museum dedicated to preserving tile art from around the country and across the centuries. The word azulejo comes from Arabic roots and means ‘small polished stone’,”  In the 13th century the Moors invaded what is now known as Spain and Portugal the tiles were much less elaborately painted and quite small pieces.  The technique took a foothold in Portugal in the 16th century.

Read more at here

My Connection with Portuguese Azulejos painting

I first came into contact with this style of painting when I moved with my husband and my (then) 2 small boys to a fishing village near Lisbon. One of the things you couldn’t fail to miss was the huge tile painting on the outside and inside of many buildings. I was intrigued and decided to embark on a tile painting course with a neighbour. I have never looked back. It was my introduction into the art world. After a 3 year stint in this country we had fallen in love with, we returned to the UK and I started a business called Ceramicart, where I painted tiles and incorporated them into bespoke wrought iron furniture.

Three of my own tile paintings framed and now hanging in my home in Portugal:


Today I am still working on my passion for art. It is no longer ‘ceramicart’ or tile painting but designing pure silk scarves for ladies and pure silk pocket squares and ties for men, here on shopblueflamingo.com.  One of my latest silk scarf designs takes inspiration from the magical time when I painted on tiles in a workshop with a Portuguese artist, near Lisbon.  This beautiful design pays homage to the traditional azulejos craft, which often depicted images of Caravels (Caravels, small, highly maneuverable sailing ships, were used by the Portuguese for the oceanic exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Age of DiscoveryPrince Henry VIIVasco da GamaChristopher Columbus, and Bartolomeu Dias all used caravels). 

I have added my own contemporary twist with an abstract woman’s face peering through, in the background, to emulate the loved ones who were waiting for their partners, husbands and sons to return safely from their often treacherous journeys.  

The Blue Marine design ladies pure silk scarf that was inspired by the traditional azulejos paintings of Portugal:

Let me know what you think about this blog and the Blue Marine ladies scarf design in the comments below.


Author Blueflamingo

I am an artist/designer, passionate about fashion, art and aesthetics. I have been working in the artistic field for over 20 years and Shopblueflamingo springs from my love of stunning accessories. I design my pure silk scarves and pocket squares for those who celebrate being different and enjoy standing out from the crowd.

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