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Handicrafts in Albacete

The City of Albacete and the commercial centre of the province provide samples of the rich and varied craftsmanship of Albacete. Discover unique craftsmanship.

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Handcrafts in Albacete have passed through a difficult era involving the disappearance of the habits and customs which the products were meant for. However, in Albacete there are authentic dynastic craft activities which have been passed on over generations, recovering traditional products and trades.

In recent years, craftsmanship has been characterized by the evolution resulting from the arrival of new craftsmen specially in the area of ceramics, glass, knives, wine recipients, jewellery workshops and book binding.

However, as is well known, for centuries, the emblematic product of the craftsmanship of Albacete has been knives, heritage of the Muslims and it has been an extraordinarily rtobust craft up to the present time. Despite modernization, there are still many workshops engaged in craft production. Jack-knives, knives and scissors can be found in all sizes and shapes and with all the ornamentation imaginable. They have a variety of uses.

The jack-knife

Each territory has its signs of identity. In the case of Albacete, knife making has always been present. The tradition goes back to the XV century according to several authors, the manufacture of knives and related objects come from the Muslims who lived in the area and were skilled craftsmen in the forging and processing of metals.

The jack-knife of Albacete has an extensive variety of forms, each with its own name: albaceteña, capaora, jerezana, pastora, punta espada, estilete, punta cortada, anilla, tranchete, machete and sevillana. Each one has its specific use. A typical aspect of the jack-knife of Albacete is the spring or ratchet mechanism . A tradition is that the knives must not be given as gifts but must be sold for a symbolic price.

Not only are jack-knives made, but there are also scissors, daggers and dirks and currently even scalpels for medical use. In the city of Albacete, and in Madrigueras the evolution of craft production has given rise to a modern knife manufacturing industry , which, besides the craftsmanship, produces very artistic pieces and which add to the steel work with the special working of the handle with horn, mother of pearl and other materials.

Up until twenty-five years ago, the knife makers went to the trains and buses with enormous collections of samples around their waists in order to find customers among the passengers. Due to the initiative of the Association of Knife Makers and Related Products (APRECU) the emblematic figure of the knife seller, who have now disappeared, is represented in the Monument to the Knife Maker, situated in the Plaza del Altozano. Also established is the Museum of Knives , located opposite the Cathedral, in the well known Casa de Hortelano, where the visitor can learn the manufacturing process and see a complete repertory of knives from different sources and epochs

Sundays in Fátima

Every Sunday the Plaza del Mercado de Fátima is a meeting point for those persons who are looking for antiques or curiosities or, only want to look at the sales stands in the "Mercadillo del Rastro".

Those who are curious and the general public can also enjoy this new meeting and leisure point where there are cultural shows in the open air and where the work of groups of local artists is promoted jazz, pop-rock, story tellers, puppets, etc.