Michele Frederickx, most commonly known as Mikki.F, is a Belgian ceramist and painter, but also an ambitious multilingual entrepreneur, active in Portugal since 2008, she settled here in 2014. We were curious to learn more about her achievements in both branches – art and business – so we set up a short chit-chat.
You have celebrated your birthday recently. How many times did you do it before in Portugal?
Not many times. After all, I am not a “party” person, quite the contrary. It’s exactly the opposite of what people think about me. The truth is that I am not very sociable and quite reserved when it comes to my private life.
You started a new life in Portugal nine years ago. Why the Algarve?
I have always wanted to live in a cheerful, sunny place. My mother was living in the South of France, and she kind of expected me to move there. But my ex- (second) husband preferred the Algarve.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? I mean, the art or the business?
As a child, I was always drawing something. Even if my parents wanted me to have a steady job, it was clear that I wanted to be creative. My family was very business-oriented, so my guess is I inherited this side from them.
What brought you to work with ceramics?
I attended a special arts and crafts programme in high school. We learned all kinds of techniques: painting, mosaics, etc. In 2007, I met a ceramicist friend in the Algarve, I got the “ceramic fever”, then bought a kiln and picked up all the necessary skills.
Is it true that you also design interiors, gardens and swimming pools?
Yes, that’s my biggest passion. I have designed several gardens in my life. Mikki’s Place was my biggest challenge: it was a dump of plastic debris with no plants and no trees. Now, it is an oasis with the most beautiful pool. In 2021, I bought an old village house, refurbished and sold it. With that money, I did it again, and this is how Msquare Gallery in Poço Barreto village was born. And it became a unique place where one can buy quirky items, but also my home with a different vision of interior design.
Mikki’s Place to Stay is a totally new concept for those loving the caravanning lifestyle. What do you offer more than the standard camping spots?
Both my ex-partner and I wanted to create a place in the backyard of an artist. His Dutch family were in the camping business, while I wanted a place where people could enjoy art and nature. I guess you can clearly feel that vibe.
Do you have a dream project that you would love to realise someday?
I have lived all my life as I wanted to. So I guess my life is my dream.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to move now to Portugal?
Get well informed, be prepared to deal with a different mentality and always remember you are a guest.
Thank you for sharing with us bits of your unique worldliness. Is there any question you would have liked to answer but never had the chance because I didn’t ask?
Well, maybe my view on politics, my doubt on their lack of logical thinking, the stupidity in certain laws. But let’s do another interview just on those matters.
What is your message to the readers of Tomorrow?
Follow your dreams, be what you want, and do what you most like. Look constantly forward, fight, and never give up. That is the key to success, that is passion.