Kingdom of Jaén Award, Resurgence of Tradition 2018
A work started in Úbeda in the 11th century and lost in the 16th century after Christ, until now. The art of “ubedi” esparto rugs is a discipline that emerged precisely in the World Heritage city - hence the name it receives - but that the inexhaustible passage of time ended up making them disappear. However, there is a family in Úbeda willing to recover the products and artisan manufacturing of yesteryear to work this vegetable fiber by hand; being its totally ecological production and its biodegradable waste. They are the brothers Pedro and Jesús Blanco Ubalde.
Converted into the sixth generation of esparto artisans in their family, these heirs of the tradition are all connoisseurs of the history of this trade and the changes it has undergone over the years. And it was his great-uncle, Pedro Vera, before 1900 who began to make handmade esparto for the domestic sphere. Later, the grandfather, Pedro Blanco Vera, began with his uncle in the knowledge of esparto in 1914, when he was 7 years old, he opened his own shop-workshop in 1939. The father, Enrique Blanco Martínez, resumed work in 1967, until Currently, the grandchildren are in charge of maintaining this piece of Úbeda's art and history with their Ubedíes Artesanía workshop.
This family works with the esparto grass of Sierra Mágina, making the famous 11th century Ubedi rugs, typical of the Úbeda area and whose manufacture was rescued by their grandfather after many years in oblivion. Nowadays, Pedro and Jesús Blanco recover other products and the artisanal manufacture of them to work this vegetable fiber by hand, being its production totally ecological. Bags, jewelery, hats, blinds, basketry and other objects of decorative use such as animals made in pita and life-size.
For his creations he uses raw esparto, crushed esparto, as well as other materials and techniques such as pita / sisal, jute, raffia or wool, which allow him to fully personalize both the articles that we find in his store and those pieces that he makes to order. A profession of yesteryear that they have managed to reconvert to position it in a highly visible place on the national scene, obtaining great awards and recognitions such as Richard H. Driehaus, awards for the Arts of Construction in the category Finishes and other construction works traditional.
At Ubedíes Artesanía they work hand in hand with designers such as Leandro Cano or Juan Carlos Quesada, Pedro Blanco assures that it is now when he is “beginning” to value the dedication of this artisan work.