||Marliete Rodrigues da Silva says that when she was born in 1957 in Alto do Moura, she already had a piece of clay in her hands. Her father, Master Zé Caboclo – José Antônio da Silva – started moulding clay as a child, watching his mother make toys for the children. Marliete’s mother was a lace maker, but soon the lace was set aside because clay was more profitable. “I’ve always been curious, and since I was 6 years old I watched my parents moulding figurines and tried to make my own toys and dolls. I started making miniatures and they are what I’ve been making longest. Nowadays many people make them. My cousin Socorro, for example, only makes miniatures. When I got started, 28 years ago, I used to repeat the scenes made by my father but in 1983 I started creating my own. I use cactus thorns as brushes, and I think it’s important to portray the things we experience, how life was and how it is now. That’s what my scenes are like. The best thing about work is the emotion. I know I can’t earn a living any other way, but I do it with feeling. I enjoy what I do so much sometimes I lose track of time. Sometimes I don’t want to sell a piece, and keep it for myself.”
The scenes created by Marliete are from everyday life in Alto do Moura, and also life as seen on television. Like her father and masters Vitalino and Manuel Eudócio, she uses primary colours, patterns full of detail and finishing touches that reveal the careful way in which this artist models clay. Among her most recent creations are beautifully decorated dolls.