How to build houses, cultivate the land, the development of different tools needed for household chores and farming, embodied in a variety of crafts. Gastronomy, The Whistle, drum dancing, romances, legends, folk medicine, and everything that meant a way of life, is remains popular in a very peculiar culture.
What we call craft today, was used in the past to meet the needs of the people of the island, based on raw materials extracted from the nature. From the wood, spoons, cheese dishes, mortars, chacaras (local castanets, bigger in size and different in shape) and ornamental utensils are obtained. These utensils are made from wood tree species of the laurel (Madeira Mahogany, Heather), and introduced species such as the walnut tree, the chestnut tree and mulberry tree. Flowers are made with the string extracted from the stem of the banana tree, as well as jewelry boxes, centerpieces, bread baskets, etc .. A variety of handcrafts are also made with the leaf of the palm tree. Basketry is varied in shapes and materials, being the most widely used wicker and cane. Weaving carpets, rag-pickers, bedspreads, and other products are still made in traditional looms, using old rag strips and cotton threads. The best example of this can be seen in the Centro de Visitantes de Juego de Bolas.
Pottery is the most outstanding craft among others. It is still made by potters without a potter´s wheel, as in the times of the aborigines. The materials employed are clay, sand and ocher. They are found in the middle height areas of the island. The manufacturing process is relatively simple but needs time and dedication. Once the shape of the vessel has been made, depending on its use (potato dish, water container, milking pot, etc.), it is left to dry and placed in a wood oven for firing. The color obtained is light brown, a result achieved through the ocher; unlike other islands where the color result is dark brown to black. Ceramics made in Chipude and El Cercado is well known for its rudimentary appearance and tradition.
In addition to these most typical samples, we can also find other crafts as crocheting, embroidery, crochet, lace, leather, rope, silk, wool, etc… On the island of La Gomera, the craft is mainly found in the northern region, with Vallehermoso being the municipality with more number of artisans.
Canaries meet annually in various craft fairs, folk games, agricultural fairs, and other activities where they promote the crafts of the island. Don´t miss the Feria Insular de Artesanía, held in San Sebastian de la Gomera, which brings together artisans from all over the island as well as from the rest of the archipelago. There, you can see other cultural expositions such as The Whistle (Silbo Gomero), folk performance groups, etc..
The Council (Cabildo, coordinates the participation in fairs and other events, contributing financially to the management of exhibition areas and decorating them. It provides for the transportation of materials and is represented by institutional charges. In this same way, Canarian crafts are displayed in tourism fairs and, occasionally, at Professional Seminars, with the presence of artisans who perform their skills “in situ”, in order to show these cultural events to future visitors as another element of the touristic offer. Such is the case of workshops where a potter can be seen working the clay, an artisan working the string, wood, etc…Very often, a folk event can be appreciated during these occasions, including the Silbo Gomero.