Álvaro M. Leiro wins Spain’s 2023 Artisan of the Year Award
On December 15, 2023, Galician artisan Álvaro M. Leiro received one of the highest honours in crafts in Spain, the prestigious Premio Nacional de Artesanía (National Award), at the sixteenth edition of the National Craft Awards. Convened annually by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism through the School of Industrial Organization (EOI) and its craft promotion arm, Fundesarte, there are five award categories: National Award, Product Award, Entrepreneurship Award, Promoted Award for Private Entities and Promoted Award for Public Entities. These recognitions distinguish relevant actors in national crafts who, through their work, make the craft sector an engine of the economy, employment, and innovation and provide added value to the country’s prestige.
In awarding Álvaro M. Leiro the National Award, the jury noted his continual exploration of the limits of the material and his ability to revive ancient techniques while investigating new forms of production. They distinguished his lasting and solid commitment to the crafts and culture of the trades and his work to preserve ancestral knowledge and techniques in the basket weaving trade. His work is based on his deep connection with the culture of Galicia, preserving and revitalizing ancient forms of artisanship and transmitting its beauty and value through contemporary pieces.
He has rescued spiral basket weaving, a technique used since ancient times to create large baskets and containers. With his skill and mastery, he has developed his own techniques to apply spiral stitching to new pieces and designs. In his workshop in Moscoso Pontevedra, he has learned to braid rye straws and bramble strips, giving life to traditional basketry that captures the essence of his native land. His work stands out for its technical and artistic quality, which has caught the attention of fashion brands with a combination of the contemporary and the ancient.
Since 1981, Fundesarte is an organization for the promotion and development of Spanish craft companies. It seeks to enhance, value and communicate the quality of the artisan product and the sustainability of its production processes through promotional initiatives, among which the National Crafts Awards and the European Crafts Days stand out. Fundesarte is part of the School of Industrial Organization (EOI), a public foundation attached to the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
Learn more about the other winners on the Fundesarte website.
Images courtesy of Fundesarte