María del Carmen Echeverría
"For the colour mixes and my work techniques, my memory never fails"
María del Carmen Echeverría received the Island Handcraft Maker Prize for 2018 during Antigua's Fair, but it is mostly a prize for a whole life dedicated to arts and teaching.
Tell us, when did your passion for painting start?
I started painting when I was two years old in my hometown of Manresa, then I studied fine arts. I learned pyrography, painting on canvas, work on glass with lead, I make mirrors and I work with all the techniques you can see in my house.
When did you arrive in Fuerteventura?
When I joined my husband who was Infantry colonel, about 40 years ago. I am more of a Canarian than Catalan now, but I feel mostly Spanish. When I arrived on the island, I registered as unemployed and the Ayuntamiento of Pájara and the Cabildo employed me. I have taught lessons almost everywhere on the island apart from Corralejo. Imagine how long ago that was, my licence is number 55! And it states decoration on canvas, but I also taught printing on canvas and I finished with furniture renovation.
"...I started painting when I was two years old in my hometown of Manresa, then I studied fine arts. I learned pyrography, painting on canvas, work on glass with lead, I make mirrors and I work with all the techniques you can see in my house.."
It is therefore 40 years of teaching...
No, more than that, as I had already been teaching in Manresa.
A whole life dedicated to art...
It helps me to stop thinking and to get over my health problems, as I have suffered over 90 heart attacks, I take so many medicines that even the doctor is surprised that I am still alive.
It is of course very impressive that you survived so many heart attacks. And you still teach?
On Sundays, I am at the zoological market in La Lajita, on Thursdays, at El Campanario market in Corralejo and in El Castillo on Fridays.Now, I can't commit myself full time, because sometimes I don't feel well enough, but when I feel well, I go to meetings that the ayuntamiento organises for women here in La Lajita. There is a local available where we can spend the afternoon and I teach my techniques. While I can still do it.
Do you have any preference in your work, some technique that motivates you more?
No, I like them all equally. My only preference is the use of the blue colour that is predominant in all my creations.
It is remarkable that at 78 years of age and with a frail state of health, you still have so much motivation and this memory for your work.Sometimes my memory fails to remember names or people I knew, but for the colour mixes and my work techniques, I never forget anything.