Monday, August 18, 2014

Demonstrating at a street market - Rastrillo

This past weekend we have been at a street market in a nearby village. It takes place every year and although small, it attracts a good number of people at this busy holiday time in Asturias. The proceeds from the pitch fees (6€ per meter) is donated to charity.

We use this particular market to publicise Luis' chair restoration skills. It is also an opportunity to sell some restored chairs and stools in cane and rush, the proceeds of which go to fund Luis' mosaic studies. We take a piece along to demonstrate how it is done, this time it was a seat from a barbers' chair. More often than not, a live demonstration always prompts people to stop or at least cast a glance in our stalls direction. We also took some pottery and bric-a-brac to reduce the amount of stock we have from when we used to sell at antique fairs in the UK. Any sales would be a bonus.

The stall-holders started to set up at 8am and the market was to run all day until 8pm, a long day giving us opportunity to watch the world go by in all it's different shapes, sizes, dress sense, style and pace. Following a slight dispute with our immediate neighbour who had invaded at least half a meter of our 4 meter pitch, we set up the stall and were open for action.

The Spanish, especially on holiday, rarely venture outdoors before 11am. The morning started slow with only a few passing pilgrims, locals shopping for fresh bread to have for breakfast, a few joggers, cyclists and walkers.

Before the street filled with eager browsers we took the opportunity to have a look around and see what was for sale. The majority of stalls are non-commercial, just ordinary people selling their excess. Some of the stalls are commercial such as artisans, antique dealers and jewelry makers whilst others are children selling toys and such they no longer cherish. Some children have stalls selling biscuits, cakes and tortilla that Mum or Granny has made. They have great fun throughout the day.

One special stall is run by two young girls who have a tank and display boxes with frogs, salamanders, slow worms, beetles, toads and other insects. They have a donation box and use the money to build habitats in their garden. Their brother used to run the stall but it seems other diversions have now distracted him. We usually donate to this as they are obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about wildlife which is impressive at such a young age.

One aspect of a Spanish street market like this (Rastrillo) that we cannot work out is why everything is so expensive, especially the commercial traders. Some of the tat on display was grimey and to be honest we would have been ashamed to display in such a dirty and unkempt state. Other pieces were outrageously expensive such as a couple of old and very large, glazed cooking pots. We enquired about one as they would have made brilliant free-standing ponds for the terrace... 150€ each!

We have a great day all in all and sold all of the chairs, and quite a bit of old pottery and glass. Many passersby took business cards and enquired about chairs to be restored so hopefully that will translate into future work. Surprisingly we didn't buy anything which is a good thing in a way as we are conscious that we have too much clutter and need to downsize further rather than accumulate things. The glazed cooking pots were still there at the end of the day as was most of his stock, I wonder why?

Despite looming dark clouds coming and going, the weather held and the wind stayed calm. We ate well, met loads of friends and neighbours, absorbed the atmosphere and watched in wonder as the world passed by...Until next year. Hasta luego.


  1. Anonymous11:36 am

    sounds a good day - well done on selling the chairs - they look great :)

  2. The chairs and stools looked lovely, no suprise that you sold them all. It sounds and looks from the photos to be just the sort of street market I would like to saunter through. Nice looking buildings as well.

    1. Hi Jenny - It's a lovely village with a very nice cove and lots of walks. Not many shops but many back roads and small lanes.

  3. Those chairs were lovely, not surprised you sold them all, I have always wanted a couple of balloon backed chairs, you used to be able to pick them up cheaply, now I never see them.

    1. Hi Anne - we brought a large stock with us when we moved out here and stored them in a barn. Sadly, we are almost at the end of our stock and doubt we'll be able to get more - but it's been great restoring them and giving them a second life.


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