Decorando Gaucín, the village’s urban crochet group burst on to the scene in December 2015 with an enormous crochet Christmas Tree in the Plaza de Santo Niño. I didn’t think they could better that triumph, but I was wrong!
Their latest project – hundreds of crochet decorations festooning the village – is beautiful, witty and even – very practically – offers shade against the blistering sun.
I met Andrea, one of Decorando Gaucín’s founding members, in Bar Pajuela for a coffee and she filled me in on the group’s roots.
There are 34 members who meet twice weekly in a room provided by the ayuntamiento, who also supplied the immense metal structure that formed the Christmas tree’s base. The group provide all the other materials themselves and so are very grateful to have some sponsorship from local businesses and villagers for their amazing second project. Of course the biggest resource – their time – is given freely and because this project is so immense that the ladies have been madly crocheting every spare second they could steal outside of their weekly meetings.
The group were so animated by the village’s response to the Christmas tree that they began planning the second project as soon as the festivities ended. Originally they wanted to make a huge awning that would completely cover the Plaza de Santo Niño but this idea presented too many technical challenges and the group had to adapt their plans. Once each section of crochet was complete the group chose where to site it – shading squares, hanging across streets, wrapped around lamp-posts or pinned to railings – the village is covered in them and looks so pretty, vibrant and quirky. Andrea admitted that they didn’t realise how word would spread, but a quick Google, Pinterest or Instagram search #crochetgaucin reveals countless references to the group’s work.
I asked how the group come upon the idea? Andrea said that she had seen something similar in Valverde de la Vera Caceres in Murcia using recycled plastic and they adapted the idea for wool. Decorando Gaucín is the victim of its own success! Neighbouring villages have asked the group to extend the project to them and although it is a very nice idea, Andrea admits that it would take more group resources than they have to complete such a project.
It was not only the villagers who reacted to the Christmas tree but it had an impact on tourism too. Working in the ayuntamiento Andrea was already very aware of the impact tourism already had on Gaucín.
Andrea speaks about Gaucín with love and a true understanding of the village and its people. “There are many white villages but for me, Gaucín in the best and if the work of Decorando Gaucín improves the area and encourages visitors then I am happy” she says.
Plans for this Christmas are still a secret, but the group are considering further trees. One of Andrea’s specialities are beautiful crochet wreaths but when I asked if this could possibly be rolled out as a Christmas project, she explained that each one is very time-consuming. Just then another member of the group stopped by our table and showed me a very unusual crochet purse that Andrea had made for her, very cleverly recycling ring-pulls from coke cans.
Gaucín has a crochet heritage and even now old ladies can still be found sitting on hard-backed chairs outside their homes crocheting in the cool of the evening. This skill has been hand down for generations; grandmother to daughter, daughter to child. Andrea’s vision is to bring crochet out of the home. Decorando Gaucín is certainly doing that and I hope this group of lovely ladies will continue to bring a smile to our faces for a long time to come.
“And next summer?” I asked. Andrea laughed and said she couldn’t even begin to think of next year!
All Images © Pip Art