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Monday, 8 September 2008

Pinolere Craft Fair in Tenerife

This Sunday, I pass through the steep hills of Orotava that are bordered by deep valleys on both sides and backed by pine clad mountains. The cool and fresh fragrant air is the perfect day to go for shopping in the open space at Pinolere Craft Fair. This is the annual fair held on the steep hills of Orotava and is a celebration of Canarian traditional craftsmanship from across the seven islands and has the most fantastic displays of produce, both modern and traditional, involving palm weaving, wicker basketry, leather work, ceramics, pottery, jewelry making and wood carving. In the stunning beauty of the valley of Pinolere, over 100 stalls surround small thatched houses within which are exhibitions of the evolution of these crafts from the earliest photographs of the islands, to modern interpretations of the art from around the world, like fabulous handbags made from painted palm leaves, crocheted table mats, dolls, clocks made from molded beer bottles and jewelry made from vegetable seeds and lentils. Some of the craftsmen kept adding to their collection of their craft as they sat by their stalls. Dotted about amongst the stalls and the huts, are groups of Islanders in traditional costumes producing hats, baskets and intricate ornamental displays with the sort of dexterity. The women are only too happy to demonstrate their craft as I adjust my camera. On a stage, there are group of musicians, demonstrating traditional Canarian musical instruments through the ages and getting a group of children to reproduce the sound each one makes. The intoxicating smell of cakes assails our nostrils as we saunter past the opening stalls groaning under the weight of sugar, almond and syrup coated ‘dulces’ , sweets and chocolates. Then comes mojos, honeys, jams, herbs and spices, each stall more inviting than the next. I try out several Canarian sauce on small bread toast, several morsels of cheese, cakes, sweets and some sausages. I am back home, tired after climbing different levels, up and down, loaded with things, that I don’t really need.

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