Selma Abdon Calheira is an amazing ceramist and an extremely determined woman with artistic vision and a deep compassion for the less advantaged. The fantastic fruits, vegetables and other creations she designs are the products of Cores da Terra – Earth Tones. The name itself was coined by Selma because of her lifelong interest in clay and her research into natural pigments. It was growing up in the countryside of Bahia that influenced her work with clay, painting and organic pigments. Inspired by the exotic opulence of Brazilian nature, she creates the brilliant and unique collection of ceramic sculptures on an abandoned cocoa plantation.
Selma’s journey has resulted in an amazingly successful enterprise which has brought extraordinary success to the rural economy of Bahia. She set up Cores da Terra in 1984 after completing her art studies and gaining initial work experience. She was in immediate demand from major professional institutions as a guest speaker and teacher due to her expertise in the field of natural pigments. Through Selma’s efforts Cores da Terra has catapulted into the high-end marketplace of international ceramics. In the 90s, her works won international recognition following exhibitions in 1996 in New York, in June 1998 at the Carrousel du Louvre and in November 1998 at the United Nations Women’s Guild Annual Bazaar in Geneva.
During this time se created her first giant ceramic apples, a design that has proved timeless.
The Cores da Terra mission is to produce decorative objects with such perfection that art and reality mingle. It’s one of the few companies that truly delivers on its mission! They produce beautifully crafted fruits and vegetables in painted terracotta that are simply stunning in their colour and variety of size! Enormous apples, pears and cherries sit with delightful ease next to their tiny counterparts.
There are also pears, plums, figs and a variety of other fruit and vegetables. We are, of course, partial to the cherries 🙂
Selma’s studio provides jobs to over 100 people. Since the beginning Selma purposely looked to hire economically disadvantaged people, nearly all of whom were unemployed or under employed, some of them living in favelas. Today they are professional ceramists. In 1996 Selma received the ‘Gente Que Faz’ award for her work with economically disadvantaged people. Through her work and her studio, Selma brings hope and opportunity to the people of Ibirataia region and neighboring municipalities, providing jobs, education and better prospects for the future.
In Australia, you can find Selma’s ceramics at Parterre, http://www.parterre.com.au.
The very large cherries (photo at the top) are priced by Parterre at $1495 each! Luckily, they don’t have any cherries in stock, so I don’t have to wrestle with temptation. Wouldn’t mind paying this much if I knew the money was going to Selma for the incredible work she does, but I am pretty sure the 300%+ mark up goes to the Australian studio for their profits. On the other hand, imagine carrying that apple on the plane! Or a 1.1m tall cherry. I would still have to get the cherries across from Sydney, but for the difference in price, I can fly to Belgium to personally bring a couple of giant cherries home.
If you can navigate Brazilian Portuguese, this is the official website: