Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

Many of Andalucia's towns and villages are the homes to genuine artistic treasures which the traveller often passes by unsuspectingly. These include paintings, sculptures, jewels, carvings and archaeological remains, all of which bear witness to the region's extraordinary artistic heritage, to be found in its cathedrals, museums, churches, town halls, monasteries and convents.

There are many fine weavers in Andalucia, although hand-operated looms only survive in remote areas, for the production of crafts articles for export, such as the wool blankets of Grazalema in the province of Cadiz, and "jarapas" (rugs coarsely woven with scraps brightly coloured fabric) of Almeria.

A move to Andalucia often means starting over in terms of decoration and interior design. Thanks to a new climate and the amazing natural light available in this part of the world, many who move here feel the desire to try on new colours and even choose new artwork to display in their homes and offices.

Metal crafts, and especially iron forging and copper and brass work have given Andalucia a special identity. Lucena, in the province of Cordoba, is Spain's centre for metal workers, and Seville is also highly regarded for its creative ironwork.

The marble and stone carvers of Andalucia are known for their traditional working of tombstones, pantheons and adornments. The carvers of Jaén are well known for their finely carved marble ashlars. There are many factories in the province of Malaga, such as the Colegiata at Antequera. There is a well known quarry at Macael in Almeria Province that produces marble which rivals that of Carrara in purity.

In the Middle Ages, the leather workers of Cordoba made the city universally famous for the high quality of their tanning and embossing techniques. Some workshops still survive which use the ancient methods, in both Cordoba and Granada, while leather goods are made all over the region (purses, wallets, belts etc.). One of Spain's best places for leather goods is Ubrique.

The traditional crafts in Andalucia owe their heritage to all people from different cultures that have settled here over the ages. The legacy of the Tartessians, the Phoenicians, and the Greeks, Romans and Arabs covers a vast spectrum of techniques and styles that are still alive in Andalucia's traditional crafts.

The guitar and Spain go together like hand and glove. In fact, Spain was the birthplace of the modern six-string guitar, it being based upon a similar Islamic stringed instrument. The guitar is the multi-voiced accompaniment of choice in the art of flamenco and it adds so much to the emotion and spectacle that fuels this passionate gypsy music.