New craft

Nothing is necessarily good because it is traditional, or necessarily bad because it is new. There are more and more young artisans who join the trade without a background, but who know and master the techniques, while having very clear ideas about what they want to do. Others, direct heirs of very old traditions, experience the need to express their own personality, leaving the framework of the simple and narrow repetition of pieces that they learned from their elders. Finally, it is also important to note that many of the young artisans have found in craft work a means of earning a living and, on occasions, a particular way of understanding life, their work relationships and even themselves. For all these reasons it is absurd to draw a purist line between what does or doesn’t qualify as a craft, just as it is absurd to pretend that the old is bad, outdated and useless, and that the only thing that counts is the new.

Among the huge variety of new artisan work on offer in the shops and markets of La Palma, it is not easy to distinguish the grain from the straw. Many young people sell a mixture of pieces made by themselves with other, imported ones. Some are sporadically dedicated to this activity and there are even those who, with the mobility very typical of a place of both emigration and influx, appear and disappear both in the profession and on the island itself.

Texto: © “Guía de artesanía La Palma”. Myriam Cabrera, María Victoria Hernández y Vicente Blanco