MORE THAN BASKETS, by Carlos Fontales


MORE THAN BASKETS. Spanish basketry.

That’s the title of the exhibition that opened last month in the Netherlands’ Vlechtmuseum, where it will remain until the 30th March 2014. It is a sample of the research on Spanish basketry that Carlos Fontales has been doing over the last twenty-something years. The exhibition will consist of baskets and other vegetable fiber objects made all over Spain (mainly traditional ones though there will be others of new design too). Also it will be shown videos and pictures of some of the basketmakers whom he had met and researched during these years.

This is not the intention of this exhibition (because it would be also false) to declare the Basketry’s death through giving an account of what has been. This exhibition has neither such intention nor any other; it is only an attempt, that of showing through this art, the richness of popular anonymity which express itself as much through objects as by deeper issues such as knowledge of the materials or the invention of techniques to treat them.

In these times when the heyday of art converted into firm, (or the object into a brand, which is the same …), reaches the grotesque, it doesn’t seem to be superfluous to put attention in one who lacks of it. Let us hope that something like “More than Baskets” achieves to awake the child look that remains more or less hidden in everyone, and surprises any with things that adults hardly can see.


more than a baskets book
More than Baskets book, Carlos Fontales

More than baskets. Spanish basketry”, is the title of a little book that I have written this year and that I will present next Sunday (October 13th at the Nationaal Vlechtmuseum Noordwolde of Holland

Because of an exhibition that will be open the same day at the museum, I thought a few months ago that it might be interesting to write a little book as an introduction on the subject for anyone with curiosity about the world of the Spanish popular basketry, and at the same time that it serve as an informative text about the contents of this exhibition.

The intention is that this, after Holland, will go over other countries, thus it seemed a good idea that the book were written in both Spanish and English; I talked about it with two good friends of mine, Nacho Gil and Lois Walpole, and they generously offered themselves to translate it. Tomi Osuna was in charge of design and layout, and after many turns over it, here it is, 60 pages and over 80 color pictures.

If there is anyone interested in acquiring it can ask me directly ( because, for the moment, it is not distributed through bookstores. The price is 10€ plus delivery costs.

Here goes a short review of the book:

In relation to what More than baskets is about, the main area with which we are concerned is the basketry that can be called ‘popular’. That is to say, that which has traditionally been made by the people from the various country and seaside villages and towns of Spain which does not have, as a priority, any commercial purpose, or if it does, it is small in scope and limited to marketing at fairs or nearby markets.