TOOLS

TOOLS

I work with my hands, using only very simple tools: a beloved little sickle from the state of Paraíba, a made-to-order gouge, a curved blade made by cutler friend, many small knives bought in Europe.  I also use rasps, files, glass chards, and even the surface of a wall on my way to the beach. To dry and bend bamboo I use the stove’s flames or the mysterious heat of the microwave. A transversal light and a dark background are of much help to evaluate what needs to be improved. Fingertips are powerful tools to check whether everything is all right. I like to use each tool to its limits, which I widen with practice and experimentation.

BAMBOO

BAMBOO

 

"Alvaro has been familiar with it since his earliest childhood and interprets it perfectly. He always uses just the right piece of bamboo for the right product. This results in happy spoons."

 

Franco Clivio

 

A member of the grass family Poaceae, bamboo is flexible, resistant, and durable, besides being beautiful, malleable, and very gentle to touch. It has sections, nodes, walls, dark fibers, a lacquered bark. There are hundreds of bamboo types, including one with a black bark that I am starting to use. I look to get bamboo as a gift. Any kind of bamboo. Ideally, in the Southern Hemisphere, it should be harvested during a new moon in the months without “R.” My acquaintance with bamboo goes back to childhood, when boys used to make kites, birdcages, and their own fishing rods out of it.

SPOONS

SPOONS

Spoons, spatulas, shells, knives, forks, cutters, shoehorns, pots, tweezers and many other items without an apparent function compose the universe of bamboo objects I make.

Their sizes vary and each one has its own shape. Most are strong and robust. Many have an intriguing gracefulness. Some are light and entirely flexible. Together, they make up harmonious groups.

Made without a previously defined design, these pieces result from the spontaneity of the work process, which is based on the reclamation of each bamboo piece taken as raw material. I seek to respect and highlight all of bamboo’s attributes. Thus, resulting pieces always present fibers in the shape of lines, points and ellipsis. As I do not use any paints or varnishes, the bamboo’s colors come out in their natural condition. I found out that, with use, wood’s colors become darker and more beautiful.

I probably made more than 4,000 pieces in the last 21 years, most of them as gifts to friends. Voracious insects destroyed many of them. At home, my spoons are absolute majority in the kitchen. They are great for stirring sweets and foods, but some people will not use their gifts.

fotos: Diana Abreu

Workshops

Workshops

It’s been a very gratifying experience to teach how to make bamboo objects. It’s a pleasure to see the efforts and enthusiasm of participants when they try to make a spoon. Usually, workshops happen in parallel with exhibits, but I’m often invited to conduct them for small groups of students or employees at companies or institutions.

In the files below, you can see what I try to teach in workshops: