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Alfajar, art in ceramic

Alfajar, art in ceramic

Alfajar is a family business founded in Malaga in 1994, by José Angel Ruiz and Lola Díaz, who together with their two daughters are engaged in the manufacture and marketing of creative ceramics. Its products are characterized by their original design, craftsmanship and the creation and selling of signature ceramics. Everything is produced by hand, from modeling to decoration and finishing of the pieces.

Alfajar means ceramics in Arabic and after humble beginnings today they have a great shop in the Salvatierra Palace, a Baroque building of the XVIIth century located in front of the Cathedral of Malaga. Their designs recall traditional Greek and Phoenicians ceramics, but they also evoke the modernity of Picassian Cubism or Modigliani figures, both for the shapes of their objects and for their decoration. They also carry out unique works and designs under order and it is common that their works represent the trophies awarded in contests, events and tributes.

  Country:  Spain

Craftsman Vasile Şuşca - the tamer of “devils”

Craftsman Vasile Şuşca - the tamer of “devils”

Vasile Şuşca is a craftsman from Săcel, Maramureş and has become known all over the world due to the traditional masks he has been making for about 30 years.

These masks were used in Maramureş for the winter holidays, they were worn for Christmas and New Year's Day and the ancestors from Maramureş believed that they drove away the evil. They are still used during the winter holidays, when groups of carolers carry on the old Romanian customs.

Vasile Şuşca graduated from an art high school, he painted, but he also practiced the profession of tailor and furrier.

An acquaintance of the artist, former director of the Popular Art School from Sighetu Marmatiei, which Vasile Şuşca attended, suggested him to make masks from the remaining materials, pieces of leather and others. First he studied the mask and the traditions of Maramureş, then with his imagination and talent he made thousands of folk masks.

To make his masks, the craftsman uses natural materials such as sheepskin or goatskin, ram's horns, cloth, hemp, beans and walnut shells, etc.
His masks are very expressive and very successful, he participated with them in exhibitions, fairs and shows, he appeared in newspapers, his works are exhibited in museums, but also on the walls of houses around the world

  Country:  Maramureş

Goma Laca, furniture restoration

Goma Laca, furniture restoration

Goma Laca is  a Granada family business specialized in the restoration and recycling of antique furniture. Founded in 1993, it has an experience that already encompasses the fourth generation of artisans, who provide them the knowledge and skills to carry out any restoration of the furniture.

Their work techniques are completely handcrafted, both in the repair, treatment, reconstruction, varnishing and decoration of any type of antique furniture, ranging from household items such as chairs or arches, to clocks, church altars or reliquaries.

The scarcity of prepared artisans and the predominance of industrial techniques in this sector make this company a unique case of preserving the cultural heritage of traditional craftsmanship.

  Country:  Spain

Handmade carved wood chess

Handmade carved wood chess

Handmade carved wood chess pieces. Chess was considered to be a royal game, which was also played in Poland by nobility and townspeople. The game comes from India, although it was known in Europe in the 10th century. Its greatest popularity in Europe falls on the 16th and 17th centuries, that was known as the golden age of chess.

In the Benkeczy wood sculpture workshop, the carvings, sculptures and game sets, including chess, are hand-made. The Benkeczy Studio has been operating for many years and is located in the old part of Krakow. Its owner, Mr. Łukasz Wiciarz, is the only one in Krakow and one of the few manufacturers of carved chess in Poland. He carries out each sculpture by hand, he approaches each one with great passion and attention to details. His sculptures are made of various types of wood: linden, cherry, oak and sycamore. His studio is open to visitors, where you can see the process of making figures, for example, oak or cherry figures are cooked before carving. He willingly tells his guests about such details of his work. On the pictures there are some of Mr. Łukasz Wiciarz works.

  Country:  Poland, Krakow

Imagery, the sculpture of the Passion

Imagery, the sculpture of the Passion

Francisco Romero Zafra is a sculptor, imager and restorer from Cordoba widely recognized for his work. A disciple of Antonio Bernal, he uses a variety of techniques to capture feeling, pain and devotion in his sculptures of the Andalusian Holy Week.  Imagery is a multidisciplinary art that combines sculpture, plastering, painting, dressing and embroidery to create the figures on display during Easter.

He has made more than a hundred works that are processed in many cities of the country and abroad, as well as restorations of ancient works that have regained their splendor under his hand.

Francis masters not only sculpture but also polychromics as painting was one of his activities before dedicating himself fully to imagery.

  Country:  Spain

Romanian ancients leather shoes “opinci”  - handmade sewn   technique

Romanian ancients leather shoes “opinci” - handmade sewn technique

Alexandru Ilinca is one of the most appreciated craftsman in Romania. The artisan carries on the craft of making “opinci”, antique leather shoes.

He was born in Orleşti, in Vâlcea County, Oltenia Region, where he learned to made opinci from his father. He practiced tailoring for almost a lifetime, until he retired and returned to make opinci. He often went to fairs where he noticed that there were no opinci for sale, to complete the folk costume, thus, Alexandru Ilinca began to make the traditional opinci again.
Because he loves ancestral customs and wants to carry on the craft learned from his father, the craftsman still participates in many fairs or exhibitions to make this craft known. Even if people no longer wear opinci, the craftsman is happy that many come to learn from the secrets of this craft.

His leather shoes reached important guests of Romania such as: Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Charles, The Prince of Wales.

  Country:  Romania, Oltenia

The Sculptor from Săpânța

The Sculptor from Săpânța

Master Dumitru Pop from Săpânţa is a famous sculptor and painter of funerary monuments. He is one of the disciples of Ioan Pătraş Stan, the one who founded the Merry Cemetery from Săpânţa and Dumitru Pop continued his work and carried on the tradition.

Master Dumitru Pop was nine years old when he took his first lesson from the famous wood carver and painter Stan Ioan Pătraş. He studied with him for nine years and after the death of Stan Ioan Pătraş, in 1977, Dumitru Pop continued his work and became a famous sculptor and painter of funerary monuments, his works reaching all corners of the world.

The Merry Cemetery is unique in the world, due to the funerary monuments that have written stories about the lives of the deceased and suggestive pictures made in the famous Blue of Săpânţa. The stories written on the crosses are not funny, but rather carefree, a little sad or even disturbing - from the worst drinkers in the village to the young people who died in World War II. The occupation of the deceased is described mainly by paintings, which suggests that these people were defined by their occupation.

The Merry Cemetery is not necessarily cheerful, the approximately 850 colorful wooden funerary monuments and suggestive paintings give it its name.

Colors, naive folk art and a different view of life and death is the description of this cemetery to which the master Dumitru Pop fully contributed.

  Country:  Romania, Maramureş

Wieliczka Salt-Mine Sculptures

Wieliczka Salt-Mine Sculptures

Salt carving is a traditional form of handicraft. You can admire it in the Salt Mine in Wieliczka in Poland, following the path of the Tourist Route, where you can meet great figures associated with Polish culture and art at almost every step, whose images have been immortalized in the salt rock. Salt is an extremely delicate material, therefore working with it requires precision and accuracy. Although brittle and delicate, salt has a hardness similar to plaster. The treatment of salt itself is not difficult.

Salt sculptures are made not only by artist-sculptors, but above all by miners-sculptors.

Many 17th-century salt sculptures can be found in the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. The mine is a priceless cultural monument which was entered on the UNESCO Heritage List in 1978. The history of the Mine itself dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was called Magnum Sal.


  Country:  Poland