Lotaria à Portuguesa: making of


I love reading about other artists’ creative processes and thought it might be fun to share mine with you.

The project at hand was a call for entries organized by Santa Casa, the entity responsible for the portuguese lottery. They currently have a very specific public – male, over 55 – and one of the goals of this competition is to broaden their target audience, with a strong focus on the female public.

The theme was “Portugalidade”, which would translate as “Portugality”, and my idea was to focus on embroidery, an important art form throughout Portugal, with many specific regional techniques. Because Portugal is such a small country, this diversity is an important part of local identities, making embroidery even more special. I also wanted to focus on other icons of our identity, steering away from the usual themes of the sea and the maritime discoveries. I looked into embroidered icons and symbols of our natural and cultural heritage to create this illustration.


After brainstorming, I came up with the concept and some first rough sketches.


Four hours later, I had my tight sketch, ready to be transferred onto fabric.


03_transfering sketch to fabric
My low-tech approach to transferring a design involves a window and some scotch tape. I am so lucky to have been shown this wonderful blue fabric marker before starting this project: it is easy to use and easier to remove than what I used before (a pencil). Thank you, J!


04_embroidery in progress
Embroidery started!
I like to stand up and embroider near the window and, at this point, my legs and my right thumb were already a bit sore. It was excellent exercise, though!


05_embroidery in progress
Good progress here! We are a bit over halfway, which means about ten hours embroidering.
Next: the incredibly detailed bird…


07_almost done

09_last stitch close up
Mission “Bird”: accomplished! The very last stitch completes the red carnation and marks twenty hours of embroidery work.



Here is the final piece!


Lotaria à Portuguesa
My finished lottery ticket!


This is the completed piece and, by the way, did you notice the choice of colors? Darker and lighter shades of blue are the tones more often used in azulejos, a traditional technique and artistic heritage left by the Arabic presence in the Iberian Peninsula, many centuries ago. Azulejos are very close to our national identity, too. The only color exception in this illustration is the red carnation, the main symbol of our democracy.

On December 15th I will find out if my entry was chosen as one of the twenty finalists. Help me gain visibility by clicking on this link and liking it on facebook, sharing it on twitter, google+ and pinterest.

I’m crossing my fingers until the date the finalists are announced. I hope to make that list, but if I don’t, I had a wonderful time coming up with this illustration and embroidering it.