Traditional handcrafts of Las Alpujarras
With the boom in tourism that the Alpujarras have enjoyed in the past couple of decades, there has also been a revival of the local artisan skills that until recently had looked to be well on their way to extinction. Traditional crafts have once again become fashionable, not to mention a source of often profitable business enterprise not only for locals, but also for the many artists and craftsmen and women who have chosen to come and live in the Alpujarras.
Many articles that were once produced for use in domestic and farming life are now regarded as objets d’art: the mats used to press olives or grapes, those designed for making cheese and butter, ceramic kitchenware, colourful rugs made out of bits of leftover materials, farming implements, jewellery and leather goods – all these have now gained prestige with the demand for the rustic and the hand-made tools and accessories of yesteryear.
Many of the beautiful ceramics and pottery are produced using the traditional methods of throwing and the designs of the Al-Andalus of the Arabs and the Moors. These plates, bowls and jugs come in a bright array of luminescent green and blue swirls and arabesque touches.
Alongside ceramics stands the jarapa (hand-woven colourful rugs), which is one of the most popular crafts in La Alpujarra. In almost every village you will find shops selling these multicoloured carpets, traditionally fashioned out of any old rags found about the house, and there are still a number of workshops where you can see the artisans hard at work at their looms.
Lanjarón, Laroles, Mecina Bombarón, Yegen and Los Güájares are renowned for the craft of basket weaving using a type of wild grass (esparto).
A tough and durable plant that grows locally, traditional farmers would have made their alforjas and shallow serones out of this material for transporting goods by mule.
Another craft they are known for is the production of objects made from carved gourds. These can reach huge sizes and are often displayed outside shops and in the local Tinaos.
Artists and craftsmen’s studios and workshops in the Alpujarras
- Hilacar in Bubión for jarapas
- Fábrica de Chocolate “La Abuela Ili” in Pampaneira
- Fragua (Metal Workshop) in Pampaneira