Lanzarote has different handicraft traditions, one of them is the basketmaking and today we dedicate this article to it.
The handicraft of Lanzarote is mainly characterized, firstly, by the lack of resources of the island and, secondly, by the strong relationship here between the daily life and the agricultural and fishing activity which was quite popular for many years on this territory. People used the existing material resources (clay, palm trees…) and created useful tools for work, storage, folklore or even for clothes.
The basketmaking in Lanzarote
Our ancestors used all kind of plant fibers for the basketmaking activities. The most popular plant fibers were the rush plant, palm leaf, heart of palm and rye straw. From the palm leaf was obtained what is called empleita, a strip plaited that were used to make sacks, mats and rugs. The heart of palm was used to make hats and bags.
As can be seen, people made the most of palm tree and were able to transform the pal leafs in different utensils.
Over the years, this tradition has been progressively lost and ever fewer artisans of basketmaking remain in the island.
Eulogio Concepción, the basketmaking of Lanzarote
In Haría we find Mr. Eulogio Concepción, a man who has dedicated his life to this interesting work. His workshop is situated a few meters from the César Manrique House Museum. It is usual see him there working in his baskets.
At his 86 years old continue working a few hours a day making wonderful baskets that are really appreciated by locals and foreigners.
His story with basketmaking began when he was 18. He learnt everything about this profession from his dad. Also, it is said that is the only one of the village that can brag to know every palm tree of the area because he was an intermediary for several years.
He fondly remembers that the first basket he did was to Mr. José Lasso, who wanted it to put it upon his donkeys. From that moment, his baskets started to be known and it was rare to find a house without a basket made by Mr. Eulogio.
He has sadly said in some interviews that today it is not possible to continue with this tradition because people prefer plastic. But not only that, we are not willing to pay the worth and quality of a handmade basket.
It is a story that is repeated every day not only with basketmaking but also with different handmade products. The true is that traditional works like that will disappear without any new artisan to continue with the work.
Tribute to a life dedicated to basketmaking
The 26th of January, 2019, the municipality of Haría paid tribute to Mr. Eulogio and from that day there is a sculpture that honours his work. Thanking his effort and perseverance to avoid the disappearance of one of the most characteristic activity of the cultural heritage of the municipality.
- El chaplón