Co-Obradoiro Galego or “Collaborative Galician Creation Space” is a collaborative project between three basketmakers and a biodesigner looking at biotechniques to help regenerate and revive our Galician craft heritage.
Galicia is located in the northwest of Spain, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean has supplied the Galician and Spanish populations throughout history, resulting in 602 tonnes of seafood exoskeletons being wasted every year. This is a danger to the environment and human health. Moreover, this situation has worsened in recent years, due to the manufacturing of fishing tools moving away from traditional fishing crafts.
Fishing tools that, in their origin, were made by local basket makers with wicker or wood but today are made mainly from plastic by large foreign industries. Nevertheless, what these vegetable and non-vegetable materials hold in common are their flexibility.
Specifically, the decline of basketry has intensified in recent years because of the reforestation of non-autochthonous species whose wood cannot be used for basketry, and the disappearance of rural life.
Therefore, the objective of our project is to develop a flexible and biodegradable biomaterial from a flexible biopolymer found in the seafood exoskeletons (usually a waste product or unused waste source), chitosan. Chitosan is an organic and non-toxic biopolymer that when degraded in soil, acts as a fertilizer and fungicides and helps nutrients absorption. Through using a lactic acid fermentation process - that requires a whey solution from the seafood shells - it is possible to obtain their natural pigments and their chitosan.
With this biodegradable material, we send a message about the permanence of these precious Galician basketry techniques, Galician basketry weavers, and the Galician culture through a material that disappears but reactivates the Galician economy.
During the production stage, traditional hand weaving crafts with vegetable fibers are applied simultaneously alongside new extrusion biotechniques, generating zero waste and encouraging the development of techniques relevant for a contemporary lifestyle.
While the design outcomes, a series of four weaving pieces, aim to rebuild Galician identity, reinterpret existing components present in the Galician culture, and reclaim crafts using elements from the sea. We are challenging techniques and crafts producing a regional design at the level of our time, relating the local with the global, establishing links between culture and community, and re-connecting the seafood industry, and basketry.
First, a well-known Galician symbol, the scallop shell, translated into a basketry weaving technique, weaving the biomaterial from the king and ox crab. Secondly, a wooden fishing trap skeleton with a visible net in the extruded biomaterial. Thirdly, a reinterpretation of a typical Galician basket for carrying fish on the head, called patella, mixed with the traditional Galician hat, again, weaving the biomaterial from the king and ox crab. Finally, a design outcome that celebrates basketry as the first craft because of its original use as a method of food preservation applying the biomaterial in a flat extrusion process.
Lastly, Co-Obradoiro Galego is a project-based in a local community that uses crafts to show a specific language from the Galician culture, while bio-techniques as a tool that speaks about history, tradition, and culture applying a closed-loop system.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Chitosan, Lactic Acid, Water.
Basketmakers | Rubén Berto, Enrique Táboas and "Carliños" González ,Creative Director Photoshoot | Olalla Armada, Models Photoshoot | Esperanza Piñeiro, María Martínez, Rosa Rodríguez, Olga Leston, Maruja and Dominga