Taubaté - SP
Taubaté is in the region of Paraíba Valley. With an estimated population of 281,336 (CNM, IBGE, 2011), the town is an important regional commercial and industrial centre, as well as a centre of artisan ceramic production. Taubaté was one of the first towns to be colonised in the region, its history going back to the 17th century when explorers were imbued with the mission of “discovering the hinterland” and to demarcate lands for the São Vicente captaincy. The “gold rush” began with the expeditions into the interior, and the first foundry in Brazil was built in the region where Taubaté stands today (IBGE, 2011). The origin of the name also tells us of another representative sphere of the municipality: the art of ceramics. Until the 1960s production was restricted to the region’s inhabitants and the large centres close by, namely Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. That was when, Lima (1986) claims, the production of Paraíba Valley became much better known as a result of publications and exhibitions. According to Aquino (2012: 68), from that date began a process of association between the “Taubaté figure makers” and Imaculada Conceição Street, where most of the local artisans lived (and still live). The ceramist production in Taubaté is closely linked to family groups. This is the case of Sebastião Oliveira, known as Padeiro Oliveira, and his wife Anastacia Costa dos Santos, who in the early 20th century began to model clay influenced by their family members and later became examples for many other figure makers. Luiza also began her figurative art as a child playing with her family. With her sisters she created a vast repertoire of figures to disseminate the production of Imaculada Conceição Street.