Jul 12, 2010
SPANISH Arts and Crafts
Traditional Spanish Crafts
Spanish crafts, the varied production of which is the fruit of centuries-old traditions, constitutes a tourist attraction of great importance. There is a great deal of specialised business activity in this sector in practically every Spanish city, especially in the tourist areas.
Normally, access is unrestricted and normal business hours are respected.
Leather & Textiles
Among the outstanding traditional craftwork made in Spain are leather products, produced in many different regions though the Andalucian leatherwork is especially renowned for the excellent quality of its leather and its up-to-date, painstaking designs. The recent boost experienced by Spanish fashion designers has consolidated the prestige of this sector and had a positive effect on other crafts, such as that of shoemaking, which in Spain is centred in Alicante and the Balearic Isles. Special mention should be made of the fashion designers in Ibiza, they have created a style all their own based essentially on Balearic popular traditions and they have enjoyed great success with their collections.
For the most part, their creations are made by hand with traditional fabrics. Regarding purely decorative crafts, Spain also offers a great variety of different products and schools.
First, thanks to its wide-spread success, are ceramics, which are represented with at least one unique type in each Spanish region. The ceramics of Sargadelos, in Galicia, have benefited from the search for new styles and are now one of the leading avant-garde Spanish schools. The ceramics made in Talavera de la Reina, more conservative in style, are products that respect an age-old tradition. The production volume of this type of ceramics has made it one of the most widely known Spanish crafts. Also important is the Manises school of ceramics in Valencia, famous for the metallic sheen of its crystal glasses. Together with ceramics, glass making merits mention as well. Centred fundamentally in the Balearic Isles, this craft is one of Spain's most attractive because of its beauty.
Traditional wooden furniture is well represented by the workshops around Valencia. Castilla y Leon also excels in this sector, with a style all it's own. Caceres, Granada and Murcia are noteworthy for their beautiful, hand-woven rugs.
Finally, iron crafts constitute one of the decorative arts associated with Spain. There are many different traditions and schools, though the most outstanding on the merits of their long traditions and quality are located in Castile.
Spanish Crafts for Children
Bright colours, simple lines, everyday subject matter and textures of all kinds form the elements of Spanish crafts. Children feel right at home with these elements, and enthusiastically create original works of art from everyday art supplies. Before beginning, consider taking children to look at Spanish arts and crafts at a real or virtual museum, such as the Smithsonian Latino Centre.
Textiles comprise a significant part of Spanish art, and contain bright, colourful designs. A painted rug craft begins with large sheets of bulletin board paper. Create symmetrical, straight-lined designs, such as those found on Spanish textiles along the entire length of brightly painted paper. Punch holes along the short ends of the paper, and have children tie lengths of yarn to form tassels.
A child's craft version of these sun-shaped, clay relief sculptures consists of salt dough or modelling clay circles placed over small, inverted bowls. Attach triangle-shaped pieces of dough to the circle's edge to create rays around the sun. Children pinch and press facial features into the circle to give the sun a face, and stamp designs with common household objects like forks or keys around the face providing a radial design. Rub a coat of paint into the surface with a soft cloth to complete the child's sun sculpture.
The Huichol Indians of Mexico "painted" pictures with yarn. A child can recreate that craft on cardboard with yarn and a few common supplies. Have children make a simple drawing on sturdy cardboard, and trace a line of glue on the picture outline. The children then push yarn onto the glue line with a craft stick. More yarn lines added inside the outlines may fill the shapes with colour. Alternatively, use oil pastels or crayons to fill in the yarn outlined shapes.
Traditionally, papel picado, or Spanish cut-paper art, consisted of intricate designs, hand cut by artists . Though now sold in stores, it offers an easy Spanish craft for children. Layer thin stacks of 9-inch by 12-inch tissue paper, and fold them in quarters to provide an easy cutting material for small hands. Have children cut small shapes into the paper along the folded edges, then unfold it to reveal the designs. Hang them end to end to create colourful banners.
Spanish Crafts for Kids
Celebrate the Spanish culture with kids by creating a fun crafting activity for them to enjoy. Use crafts as learning tools to teach them about their world. Keep age group, attention span and skill level in mind when selecting an appropriate craft. Use caution with small items and hot glue around children.
Maracas are fun to make and shake.
Maracas are native instruments of several Spanish-speaking and Latin countries. Kids love to make and shake these fun noisemakers. Provide each child with two Styrofoam cups. Instruct them to decorate the outside of the cups with paint. Bright, primary colours are the colours traditionally used to decorate maracas. When the paint has dried, fill one cup with a handful of dried beans. Use hot glue to secure the second cup to the first so that they are rim to rim. Shake the cup back and forth to make music. Kids can also continue decorating with glitter, pom-poms, buttons, scraps of ribbon and other crafting materials.
Make colourful ponchos from paper bags.
Ponchos are garments used to keep away inclement weather. Originally created in Peru, the use of ponchos is widespread to many Spanish-speaking cultures. Create this traditional garment with kids using paper bags and colourful paints. Cut a hole in the bottom of a paper grocery bag large enough for a child's head to fit through. Cut out slits in both sides of the bag for her arms. Slip the bag over the child's head to ensure comfortable movement. Let her decorate the front, sides and back of the poncho with colourful paints or markers. She can use buttons, pom-poms, bits of fabric or other crafting materials to decorate the poncho to her liking. Create fringe for the bottom of the poncho by cutting out and gluing small strips of paper bag or scraps of fabric.