Marta Malheiro – ceramics

Under the name Barro Alto, Marta turns wild clay into ceramic pieces that make you smile.

year of birth: 1989

birthplace: Chaves, Portugal

current residence: Porto, Portugal

started in 2017

Where did it all begin?

I tried ceramics for the first time by chance in a small ceramic studio in a kibbutz in Israel. After that I learned as much as I could and never really let go.

What is the worst advice you’ve heard?

“You should get a real job so you have something to fall back on.” I can either focus on pursuing whatever is meaningful to me, or on making my inevitable fall as comfortable as possible.

Most beautiful moment during the creative process?

The way wet clay feels in my hands when I’m smoothing the surface of a freshly made piece. Sometimes this gesture alone will dictate which direction to go and ultimately how a piece will turn out. I like this process where the restrictions are whatever I impose upon myself at the moment of creation.

What doesn’t inspire you? 


What are you proud of?

(Slowly) building my own business.

Who would you like to meet or who would you like to work with?

Miranda July. I love the way she embraces weirdness in a relatable way, and how her creative genius spills into so many different areas.

Favorite material?

Wild clay, especially if found unexpectedly.

What would you have done, if not this?

I would still be a graphic designer, and I would definitely have tried my luck with editorial illustration.

When was your biggest moment of doubt?

I doubt myself constantly. The last time I did, I was trying to decide whether to go ahead with my ceramic project and turn it into something more structured and stable. I asked myself if what I do is even worth anything to anyone.

Who is your biggest supporter?

There’s a few cheerleaders among my friends and family.

What is to you, the most beautiful sentence?

“It is humankind’s greatest curse that the happiest moments in life can only be identified when they are over”

I couldn’t think of any sentences I find beautiful that don’t have a sad tone! This one is by Juli Zeh. Her books are filled with beautiful sentences.

What do you still want to do?

Fill a wall with handmade tiles, collect wild clay from all over Portugal, build a doll house, illustrate a children’s book, and many more etceteras. (laughs)

Want to see more of Barro Alto?


Online shop – will be updated soon 

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