Ronda - Art and craftwork
Craftwork activities have represented a large tradition at the "Serrania de Ronda", covering diverse aspects including wood carving, pottery, forging, saddlery, leather work, cork work, esparto grass work, cane work,...
The extense forests of our region have allowed the development of a hand made wood carving tradition, specially concerning fine woods like walnut and chestnut. It started at the end of 19th century and begining of the 20th century, when the "School of Arts and Trades King Alfonso XIII" was opened, financed by the Duchess of Parcent.
The master Santiago Hernández, coming from his hometown Granada in order to restore the House of the Arab King, due to his work, achieved to have many followers.
Nowadays we can find at Ronda good wood carvers and their work and furnitures offered by the "Cooperativa Ciudad del Tajo".
At the Cortes de la Frontera station we can find now the development of a new hand made furniture design line.
The ceramics tradition, represented by the tile factories and the potteries is still alive, due to the current use of ceramics as building material for houses at the "Cortes de la Frontera" station. In Ronda, the ceramics tradition has leaded to a white glazing ceramics, worked, since long time ago, by women who studied at the Trade School of Ronda and who decided to found one cooperative specilized in hand made ceramics.
At the Gaucin station artistic ceramics are worked in order to design murals and posters, as well as their use at decorative building aspects.
Grilles, door handles, ironwork for wood furnitures,... have been created by the blacksmith masters since decades. Some examples of their work can be found at the Bullring and at "Calle La Bola" (the ball street).
In these days, few of these craftsmen continue with this old tradition.
The trade of saddler is conected to the work in the fields, and, in order to be more accurate, to the beast tacks. All these tracks and other instruments used to tie up the animals are done by the craftman using materials such as canvas, poor-quality leather, straw, rye, wool and worsted, sewed with laces made of canvas.
30 years ago there were more than twenty five saddlers in Ronda, specialized at this trade, but now there are only one couple of them working on it. Unfortunately, this ancient tradition will die with these latest craftmen.
Cork work, esparto grass work and others
Leather and cork are worked at Cortes de la Frontera. The first of them is used as design material and the second is used to make home tools. Esparto grass and palm have been worked at the region in nearly every home of the rural world to make baskets, different kinds of shoes like espadrilles, ....
At the present, few craftmen do work at these activities.
Food and agriculture
Food transformation: Homemade food is very popular among the region, where products of high quality can be found, like Iberian pork cold cuts at Arriate, Algatocín, Estación de Cortes, Benaoján and Montejaque, goat cheese at Cuevas del Becerro, homemade sweet things at El Burgo (doughnuts made of different types of candies, wine, and other sweet and naturals ingredients). At Atajate there can be found cheese made with almonds, and at Parauta and Benalauría cheese with chesnuts, honey made with the flowers of the local forests at nearly all the villages of the serrania and homemade liqueurs like kirsch or the famous hot punch of Arriate and the grape juice of the Genal valley.