Since time immemorial, Gozitans have nurtured a very strong spirit of survival. Very often they had to depend on the skills of their own island artisans to be able to live on an island that was isolated from the rest of the known world. The Arabs introduced cotton into Malta, from around 870, and along with it, expertise in weaving and dyeing. During the period of the Knights, Gozitan cotton linen was very highly sought after in Europe. Another centuries old craft is stone sculpting. A look at Gozo`s churches and houses reveals a craft that has produced highly appreciated architectural artwork.
Despite the mass emigration of the fifties and the sixties as well as the introduction of modern trends and accessibilities that we today are accustomed to, many traditional crafts have survived. These skills were passed on from one genertion to another. Artisan products which half a century ago had a practical use in daily life, gradually started to adapt to a new reality in the tourism sector which appreciated hand made goods manufactured in Gozo. These products – ideal gifts and souvenirs of Gozo- are now looked upon as objects d`art…
The Ta` Dbiegi crafts village in Għarb is a cluster of workshops where handcrafts are made and sold. Visitors can find hand-made pottery, mouth-blown glass, leather goods, traditional pastries, Gozo lace and silver filigree.
Local crafts can be discovered as one meanders across the island, in tiny alleys and small village workshops, there are hidden treasures of beautiful artifacts, a pure reflection of local colours and inspiration. A unique experience for anyone seeking to take home a genuine local product…like lace, for example. Making lace is fascinating to watch. The pattern is drawn up on parchment paper and holes pricked to show where the pins should be positioned to allow the linen ‘lace’ threads to be worked. Today, there are still lace makers that one can encounter in village streets, especially in summer when even artisans try to catch a breeze outside . Intricate lace is still being included in haute couture outfits which win international recognition and admiration.
Gozitan skills can not only be seen but tasted as well. There is a vast selection – try out Gozitan thyme honey, peppered goats cheese – Gbejniet, nougat and the unbeatable Maltese snack pastizzi, or what about Gozitan Olive Oil, a bottle of excellent wine or artisan beer – the only of its kind on the islands…
Gozo, discover it your own way.
You may learn more about Gozo’s Artisanal Products by clicking on the image below: