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The curina weaver, a disappearing job

Francesca's grandfather weaving curina to create a basket

Hi, Francesca is writing, and the man you see in the picture is my grandfather. His name was Corrado, and he left us a few years ago, leaving a big hole in the hearts of his loved ones. 💔 

He was an extremely good man, and I have only good memories of him. I remember him singing cartoon songs or testing us with riddles. Sometimes we watched and commented on the news reports of fashion shows together and laughed out loud at what the models wore bravely. I remember him sprinkling the plate of pasta with chili (which he liked very much, and that’s why he had some jars outside his front door) or playing solitaire with playing cards (I learned them from him). Let’s not talk about the smell of cigarettes when I suddenly went to his house! Yes, because he believed that none of us knew that he smoked secretly 😀 Finally, I remember him while he was weaving curina.

What is curina?

Curina is the Sicilian term we use to refer to the dwarf palm, which grows spontaneously in any soil, even in the area of ​​the Belice river. Today, unfortunately, due to countless fires, it is at risk of extinction, so it has been declared a protected plant.

Generally, the leaves are harvested in August and left to dry in the sun. They are processed in winter, and no special tools are needed. The hands are the principal tool, which works with the help of needles, thread, and scissors.

U ‘ntrizzaturi

The craft of weaving (u ‘ntrizzaturi is the artisan) has, unfortunately, almost disappeared. It’s a real shame, and that’s why I tried to learn it. One day I asked my grandfather to teach me how to weave the curina. He smiled and sat next to me. The leaves were rough, almost sharp, I would say, and my delicate hands didn’t expect it. Besides, you must have excellent manual skills, or the mission is practically impossible. And I, as those who know me well already know, I am much more inclined to theory than to practice. So it was that I abandoned my good intentions after 10 minutes of useless attempts, and my grandfather who did not stop laughing 😀

Things you can do with curina

Curina is a very resistant material, and my grandfather made brooms, cupholders, napkin holders, fans, and more. But his masterpieces were the coffe. These are bags with two cord handles that in the past were used to hold objects and food, but nowadays, they are one of the most popular accessories in the fashion world. Precisely for this reason, buying a coffa is almost prohibitive due to the exorbitant prices. My grandfather gave all his creations for free to anyone who asked him. There are few pieces left, and I jealously guard them. I write this article both to keep alive the memory of my dear grandfather and to try to let you know our past and our traditions, hoping that they will not disappear.

A coffa, three napkinholders, three baskets
Some creations: a coffa, three napkinholders, three baskets

Finding a curina weaver is very difficult. Do you know at least one? If so, have you ever thought of trying to learn this art? I regret having missed this opportunity …

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