davWickerwork lights up Zumarraga

Zumarraga worked, cultivated and stored wicker. The first wickerwork furniture factory was established by Justo de Artiz, who made use of the advantages of the railway. His furniture reached half of Europe and received awards at the International Exhibition in Barcelona in 1888.

Although archive documents do not point to an activity of tremendous economic importance, wicker is prominent in the collective memory.

Many spas or hotel services were supplied with furniture from Zumarraga.

Artiz gifted King Alfonso XIII furniture for his office.

Wicker manufacture soon spread across Zumarraga.

About 500 people, mostly women, at home or in the factory, turned wicker into crates, baskets, sewing boxes, chairs, umbrella stands, rocking chairs, tables, chaises longues, trunks, beach huts, etc.

The wickerwork activities declined from 1950 onwards and died out. But their existence left such an imprint that Calle Piedad is popularly known as the "basket-makers' hill".

After Artiz introduced the osier plantation in the Goierri area, factories and some private individuals cultivated osiers. The production supplied local needs and the surplus wicker was exported.

Of the basket-making workshops, in 1959 the only ones left were those of Hijos de J.B. Busca (with 4 workers), Justa Ormazabal Beristain and Juan Urreta Lizarralde.

In 1958 only three wicker warehouse owners remained: Justa Ormazabal Beristain, Hijos de J.B. Busca and Rufino Mendizabal Elgarresta.

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