The ancient craft of braiding esparto grass has a generational relay in Jose Simón. This 35-year-old from Canjáyar, a small village in the Alpujarra region of Almeria, did not hesitate to continue with his great-uncle’s handicraft work in the esparto grass factory. He does not want the tradition to be lost and he is also passionate about rural life.
An illness left him in a wheelchair and forced him to “retire” from his previous job. But this did not paralyze Jose at all. He collects the esparto grass himself, treats it and carefully braids it to create baskets, purses, bags, espadrilles, fans, vase covers, rugs, flower pots and many other decorative pieces.
He also organizes workshops to teach others how rewarding it can be to keep alive this craft so deeply rooted in Spanish tradition – and sustainable! Because esparto grass and other natural fibers are biodegradable materials that have been used for a lifetime and are returning as environmentally friendly substitutes for plastic.
Jose is proud to continue the family legacy and recover the esparto grass craftsmanship. Through the Farmers Farm social project, it wants to spread the taste for this craft and promote its use in everyday life. And, in addition to a very skilled and capable craftsman, he also aims to be a great example for all people who think of a disability as a barrier. People with disabilities are capable!
Faced with the homogenization of mass-produced products, Jose wants to highlight the value of the handicraft sector and the cultural, local and rural values it conveys.Leer menos