Marcou Artifacts creates objets d'art of Goa, by Goans, for the world.
If you are looking for beautiful pieces of Goan memorabilia to beautify your home; if you are looking for quirkiness and a European finish to every lovely piece of ceramic or terracotta; if you are looking for the perfect gift; if you are looking for art to adorn your workplace; then do this. Stop wandering around Goa – come to Marcou Artifacts on 31st January Road at Fontainhas.
The Marcou shop is in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Panjim. Head towards Mary Immaculate School and the famous Viva Panjim restaurant and look for this lovely picture window. Then pass through the glass door and feast your eyes on some truly delightful pieces of art.
That glass door lets you step into Goa's past. A past that is not musty or dusty, but vibrant and alive in shiny ceramic forms and etchings that bring the wonders of past Goan generations alive again.
Like so many of us original Goans you must be tired of the weird architecture springing up all over the towns of Goa and her villages too. Marcou can help you here. If you have a yearning for those unbelievable days when gracious living was all that we knew, then you can even buy a little Goa house complete with the pretty roof, the rooster ornament on top, decorative windows and doors, maybe a bougainvillea tree splashing its colour on the white walls. This house would have to sit on top of your mantelpiece or shelf or cabinet. No one will guess it is actually a ceramic box you can put something special in.
These souvenirs are crafted in ceramic, terracotta and fibre resin. You can take your pick of the famed azulejos too which were used to decorate important buildings.
Azulejos are decorative palm sized ceramic tiles that are widely appreciated as a unique feature of Portuguese architecture. Most Goan homes, even hotels today have name plates and signage made of azulejos. They are used to create murals on walls and ceilings too.
These works are the creative genius of one of Goa's favourite sons - Francisco Martins, known to all as 'Fanquito'. He is the creator of all those Goa floats at the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi that waltzed away with the first prize, time and time again. Marcou Artifacts is owned by Francisco Martins and his friend, industrialist Anil Counto.
You get works of art here. The Dudhsagar waterfall crashing over the cliffs and under the railway bridge, cascading down to the lowlands, cutting through lush forests … all this captured in a painting on a ceramic gurgulet. The gurgulet is a narrow necked rooster shaped water receptacle used by our forefathers to keep drinking water cool and fresh. Except instead of the earthenware gurgulet, this one is of smooth glazed ceramic.
Lead free paints and special ceramics allows you to serve meals in these beautiful dishes
The ceramics are made out of five different types of clay and either shaped on a potter's wheel, or poured into a plaster-of-paris mould and baked. Then painted with specially mixed lead-free paints imported from Europe, glazed and baked again in a state-of-the-art furnace at the Marcou factory at Corlim Industrial Estate. Lead free paints imported from Europe are used in every artifact made. This is why people who own these beautiful pieces can even serve meals in them.
There are very strict quality controls at every level of production. The process of getting just that right shade of colour as visualised by Francisco Martins, who is a stickler for detail, is not easy. Different unique shades of the same colour are created by a skilful application of heat. It is a painstaking process, says Fanquito and his team, but worth every effort.
Back in the day, Goan artists were much in demand for their exquisite workmanship and attention to perfection. Works of Goan jewellers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, stone and wood carvers have found mention in old books and records of the colonial rulers and visitors to this old, old place. The team at Marcou, led by Francisco Martins is a throwback to that time.
The creative process is constantly churning away in Fanquito's thoughts. When he goes for his morning walk with his wife Nanda, she becomes his sounding board as he discusses ideas with her. He sketches them out, sits with the team of artists and artisans explaining his ideas to them. A team of three artisans works on the prototype which is made of clay. Modifications and alterations are done to the prototype until Fanquito approves it.
Moulds are then created where in the liquid clay is poured to take shape. After the clay takes the form, the clay artifact is separated and heated in the furnace at 1000 degrees Centigrade to harden the object.
Then the polishing and painting is carried out before the final firing at 1000-1050 degrees Centigrade.
What does this labour of love cost then? Prohibitively expensive? Surprisingly no. The rates begin from as low as Rs 150 to Rs 10,000. Marcou is also in the process of developing an exclusive line of artefacts aimed at the niche gift market. There are different categories of products: ceramics, terracottas, azulejos, fibre resin.
They accept corporate orders and make custom made pieces according to the needs of the client. This flexibility has won Marcou several orders for entire tableaux at some hotels. Marcou has also found a growing market in keepsakes for wedding guests.
Yes, you must pencil in this place in your itinerary. Marcou Artifacts – products of Goa, by Goans, for the world.
Marcou Stores in Goa:
Casa Rocha, 31st January Road,
near Viva Panjim Restaurant,
Fontainhas, Panjim Goa-403001
Caetano de Albuquerque Road,
Panjim, Goa, INDIA - 403001