Crafts List

The popular works that persist in the region were adapting to new functions, which have more to do with the valuation of the quality and beauty of the pieces than with the practical necessity of daily life. This is what happens with the elaboration of baskets of wicker or ceramics or objects of brass.

At the time many were used for the work of grape harvesting, wine storage, or the making of brandy, but today they are more appreciated from an aesthetic point of view, as objects of decoration. The changes in society and in the objects that accompany it led to many of these trades being lost in the last decades, but recently the movement of recovery and valuation of them is increasingly intense.

Around the wine and derivatives of the grape was establishing a tradition, currently in the process of extinction, of the work in brass and copper, that in municipalities like those of Lemos, Sober and Portomarín was much appreciated. With these metals were made the alquitaras or stills, objects of Arab origin with which a distillation of the brandy since the Middle Ages, from the bagasse, that is to say, the solid part of the grape that remains after being crushed for the Wine making.
The canisters used tin sheets bought in stores or taken from old containers. On these they marked the profiles with punch, ruler or compass, and cut the pieces that would finally be welded. Changes in the public health regulations (Decree of the Xunta of 1989) and the evolution of the sector made the home production of this drink, with the famous figure of the itinerant augardenteiro, cease to be habitual in the Ribeira Sacra, As in the rest of Galicia.

Traditions are conserved in Chantada as the work of weavers (tejedoras) and zoqueiros (person who makes souks or zocas), besides the one of the cesteiros (basketers), that gave rise to the jugs of Bergaza, taking advantage of the wicker plants, from where The raw material was also extracted to build the vineyards. In Quiroga there is now produced pure olive oil without refining, from olives of the area.

The artisanal production of this oil stands out for its exceptional character, constituting a unique case in Galicia that reflects an old tradition associated with the presence of olives and mills in the eastern area of the Ribeira Sacra, with a climate and vegetation of clear Mediterranean influences.

But without a doubt, the most important traditional craft is the smell (ollería), both for the quality of its products and because they were able to adapt to the new functions, creating an image of quality recognized outside these regions. The centers of Gundivós (in Sober) and Niñodaguia (Xunqueira de Espadanedo), are centers of a much appreciated production. In the town hall of Sober Gundivós is made with its peculiar black shades by the application of a special varnish (fish) that waterproofed them, leaving the interior very bright and the exterior dark by the smoke of cooking.

These vessels were often used in cellars and kitchens, and there was the opinion that they improved the taste of wine. With the passage of time, "cacharros" lost their functional value, displaced by new industrial objects, many of plastic, leaving much of the workshops, which supplied the demand in fairs and markets of Monforte, Castro Caldelas, Chantada or Lugo. In recent years the trade has been recovering thanks to particular initiatives, such as ceramics courses, the appearance of young artisans, and the approval of a center for the design and promotion of traditional craftwork in Sober town hall. At present the variety and the degree of originality of the pieces are greater, starting from the old traditional forms. Of land of Ourense is the smell of Niñodaguia, of the municipality of Xunqueira de Espadanedo. br/> Although the workshops disappeared, there were some furnaces of artisans who produce beautiful containers with a point of creativity to adapt to the demands of the market, living with the powerful sector of industrial ceramics. The artisans choose a local clay of the zone, of white tone, that later they cover with a peculiar yellow or orange varnish. The "Association of Potters of Niñodaguia" organizes in the month of August an exhibition accompanied by cultural activities, in order to promote the knowledge of this type of products.