Sao Miguel Island Local Products
The repetition of traditional patterns and shapes and the use of local raw materials characterizes the handicraft of Sao Miguel. Mats made from leaves of maize and flag, colorful dolls of maize husks representing picturesque figures in their regional costumes, artificial flowers (made from fish scales, paper, cloth, and feathers), and wickerwork are examples of the works of art that come from practiced and skillful hands. Also worth noting are the linen embroideries, the hand woven counterpanes with squares, the lozenges, and the colorful fluting and the woolen caps worn by the shepherds.
The pottery tradition in Sao Miguel originated when the first inhabitants brought with them the art of clay modeling. Pottery making already has a centuries-old tradition at Vila Franca do Campo, which once had dozens of potteries in operation using clay brought by sail boats from the island of Santa Maria. Today only a few potters reproduce with their wheels the traditional shapes of bows, trays, pots, pitchers, fanciful and elegant jars and the excellent miniatures that attract collectors.
Lagoa, a pottery center that was born in the middle of the 19th century, quickly gained great fame beyond the horizons of the Azores for the decoration shapes and glazing of its pieces. The skill and art of its potters goes far beyond the utilitarian and includes statuettes and figurines, decorative vases, and glazed tiles. Sao Miguel has a strong tradition in spinning and weaving, as all the other islands have as well. The antique weaver’s looms are still used to create fabulous quilts, blankets, panels and tapestry all in the traditional colors.
Sao Miguel is also home to the oldest tea plantation in Europe and at the moment the only tea plantation in Europe. It is also known for its pineapple plantations and fine cheeses.