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 VirtuArte Blog

Date: 7/19/2016 6:05 PM EDT

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People from all over the globe will soon stream into Brazil for the summer Olympics.  As we look toward Rio, I'm remembering my own many trips to Brazil.  I've loved experiencing the country's mix of cultures and adding examples of Brazilian multicultural artistry to the VirtuArte collection.

European and African Heritage
Portuguese colonists arrived in Brazil centuries ago, and their imprint is still visible.  The national language is Portuguese, and Catholicism imported from Portugal is still widely practiced.  Central Brazilian cityscapes with narrow streets and Baroque churches recall styles in Portuguese cities.
Africans came to Brazil when Portuguese landowners brought them as slaves to work on sugar and cotton farms.  Brazil's famous samba rhythm of music and dance evolved from these Africans' musical and religious roots.  Brazil's national dish, fejioada, originated as a slave's meal -- as stew of beans and meats served with rice and condiments.
After slavery ended in Brazil, immigration from Western European countries increased.  In southern Brazil, Germans brought their native architecture to churches and houses, and the German Oktoberfest has joined other celebrations in Brazil's party-loving culture.

Carnival
Brazil's most spectacular annual party is Carnival.  Before Lent, Brazilians give themselves over to four days of singing, dancing and costumed revelry in the city streets, day and night.
At this pulsating celebration, Rio's many samba schools, or local cultural clubs, compete to put on the best parade.  They work all year to prepare for and rehearse these parades, each telling a story through music, lyrics dance, elaborate costumes and floats.

Two Sips of Brazil
In Brazil, one of the world's top coffee producers, socializing over coffee is part of the culture.  Many Brazilians take a break during the day for a cafezhino, a strong, black brew served in small cups with lots of sugar.
The national cocktail of Brazil is the caipirinha (kee-purr-Reen-yah), a blend of Brazilian rum, sugar and fresh lime juice ofter served at Carnival.  The rum is the sweetest kind available, flavored by sugar cane juice rather than molasses.

Brazilian Artwork
The VirtuArte collection represents the various cultures, crafts and materials of Brazil.  We offer jewelry combining alpaca silver and semi-precious stones native to Brazil.
Other jewelry and baskets are woven from a rare plant called golden grass found in northern Brazil.  This grass with its natural metallic sheen is sustainably harvested once a year, providing important income to local villagers.
African patterns have influenced our colorful, handprinted wooden coasters and boxes.  The craft of glassblowing brought to Brazil from the Italian island of Murano provides our elegant vases and candle holders.
Brazilians are known for their wild passions for soccer and partying, but take a look at Brazilian handiwork, too.  You'll find vibrant designs that make incomparable gifts.

Posted by VirtuArte | Post a Comment

Date: 6/15/2016 11:16 AM EDT

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Have you used a wedding registry lately?  Registries make shopping simple and fast.  But does this businesslike process produce gifts that express your feelings on an occasion as special as a wedding?  Shopping for wedding gifts can be so much more fun and rewarding for you and for the bride and groom when you look beyond the registry.
But giving and receiving wedding gifts can be a whole different experience.

Well-chosen surprises
Looking beyond a registry, you free yourself to surprise the couple with something for their home that stands out for being unusual, beautiful and well matched to their tastes and interests.
A gift approached this way evokes wedding memories each time it is used and recalls warm feelings about your unique relationship with the couple.
We specialize in helping you select just the right gift.  We'll ask you questions such as:
  • What kind of gift you would like to give?  Allow some time to consider this.  When you rush a gift at the last moment, you may lose the personal touch you're aiming for.
  • What are the bride and groom's favorite hobbies or leisure activities?
  • What anecdotes or memories do you have of the couple?
  • Where are they interested in traveling?
  • What would have meaning for them? Set aside what is meaningful for you and focus on what will make an impression on them.
Handcrafted pieces for the home
Some of VirtuArte's handcrafted pieces are purely decorative, others are practical.  All reflect-established traditional skills from the developing world adapted to today's uses.

Salad servers from South Africa

These salad servers from South Africa echo the area's concept of Ubuntu, or sharing food as a symbol of our common human bond.  The set in copper, brass and stainless steel suggests textile designs from women's clothing in the African Ndlebele tribe.

Reverse painted glass picture frame from Peru

Reverse painted glass has become a traditional Peruvian craft, though it evolved from skills first brought to Peru by 16th century Spaniards.  This picture frame adds elegance to any room.

Jordanian stoneware serving bowl

Patterns on this Jordanian serving bowl are influenced by art from the Bronze Age, Islamic and regional motifs of the Mamluk period and minimalist modern designs.
Our collection also includes vases, serving plates, coasters and decorative objects.

Gifts that touch the heart
We've often heard heartwarming stories of how touched and delighted people have been to receive these thoughtfully chosen, handcrafted pieces.  We would love to help you give the special people in your life a truly personal gift.

Posted by VirtuArte | 1 Comment

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