Famalicão's tribute to textiles is made from Riopele waste

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An urban art installation that was created in a central public space of Vila Nova de Famalicão, was unveiled last Sunday, July 9th, the Town's Day, with Riopele environmental sustainability label.

Nearly three tonnes of waste generated by the weaving process, known as "false selvedge", came from Riopele. Then, this waste was selected and reused in the construction of the "Thread"; an art installation designed by artist Madalena Martins. The aim is to pay tribute to the identity of the municipality of Famalicão, namely its history dedicated to the textile industry.

Riopele’s CEO explains that "false selvedges are made up of waste generated during the weaving process, consisting of a variety of raw materials found in the fabric collections of the company”, which "has implemented a programme aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2027".

José Alexandre Oliveira adds that the Famalicão-based company's contribution to the process of creating the art installation was not limited to donating this industrial waste. "Some of these materials were subjected to a low environmental impact dyeing process in our dye factory", he adds.

Regarding Riopele's association with the municipality's commitment to enhancing its brand through the artistic exploration of its identity, specifically its textile identity, José Alexandre Oliveira speaks of a partnership "of great significance" that "not only celebrates the history of the textile industry in the region but also strengthens the company's ties with the local community, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable and cultural development of the city. It is a way for us to actively contribute to preserving Famalicão's historical identity and honoring its legacy," he says.

It is worth remembering that this art installation, 'Thread', representing Famalicão's past, present and future, and more specifically of the town's textile industry, will remain in Famalicão's urban centre until next October.

The textile thread is therefore the plastic element that constructs the narrative, which will begin in the gardens of the Town Hall, and stretch along Rua Adriano Pinto Basto to Praça D. Maria II, in other words to the statue of Queen D. Maria II, founder of the municipality.

"White threads emerge from the trees in the Municipal Garden, as if each trunk were the support of a skein, stable and rooted in the earth. From there, the threads meet, intersect, and create a web. Anchored at points offered by the streets, they mould themselves to its architecture, thus forming an irregular yet cohesive design, light yet secure due to the strength of their diversity. This structural weave, which at some point becomes tinged with vibrant and warm colors, supports a new thread that breaks free in a creative and unrestricted manner, carrying its own light and energy. It moves forward in the same direction, but with the inherent curiosity of those seeking new paths," explains the author.

"Along the way, this thread intertwines with historic buildings, enters houses, plunges through the treetops and moves forward, until it embraces the sculpture of Queen D. Maria II, a historic figure who has also propelled the city forward. It is in her hands that this web of threads ends, knitting a new piece, made up of history, tradition and discovery", adds Madalena Martins, who explores public space as a stage for ephemeral visual storytelling, with creations marked by environmental sustainability, where waste from industries, businesses or museums is transformed into new pieces.

Madalena Martins holds a BA in Communication Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Porto. In 2010, after winning a POPs (Portuguese Original Projects) Award by the Serralves Foundation and spending two years at the INSerralves creative industries incubator, she has focused on her own projects. She explores a universe dedicated to design and the imaginary of Portuguese culture, by reinterpreting stories and materials, restoring emotions in the form of objects or installations in public spaces.