The craftsmanship of the area is basically focused on marble, especially in localities such as Fines, Olula del Río and Macael, but there are also important examples of ceramics, such as the potters workshop in Los Puntas, in Albox, and the wood cultivated for years. by Pedro Gilabert, whose work has earned a museum in Arboleas. The route begins in Arboleas, a municipality that is reached from the Mediterranean Highway, at the exit to Purchena, taking the Huércal Overa Baza highway.
Wood is the protagonist of the Pedro Gilabert Museum, it opened a year ago, with most of the work framed within the naïve current. In this museum you can see most of the work of this great and self-taught artist, born in Las Huevanillas. Another artist from the area who works with the waste of marble has also taken refuge in magnificent sculptures. You can also see the work of rustic wooden furniture in the district of Los Llanos.
From Arboleas the route continues towards Albox on the A-334 road towards Serón. According to the Madoz, not long ago there were about 300 looms in Albox, as well as kilns, pottery and other craft workshops in the nineteenth century. Little remains of the textile tradition. From the potter, you can still buy a piece going back up to about three centuries the family descent of the current craftsmen, represented by the family of Los Puntas. Its flag has been declared an Artistic Historical Heritage because of its antiquity, for the maintenance of its facilities and for the continuity of the complete process of traditional pottery. In addition to the Moorish furnace, lathes remain locked in the ground, at a level lower than that of the shop floor, which is a unique feature. The decoration of the pieces is done with metallic oxides that give brown, green and blue tones.
From Albox and following the same route, the route enters the heart of the marble region. One of the most flourishing artisan industries in the area. Cantoria, Fines, Olula del Río and Macael make up a triangle where the main factories and marble workshops are concentrated. Chimneys, sculptures, objects such as chess, desk, decoration, among others, are made. Marble has historically come from this region for works such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Roman Theater in Mérida, the Monastero in El Escorial in Madrid, the pavilions in Andalusia and Spain at the Seville Expo 92; and abroad for the construction of monumental works such as the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
In Macael you can find the Technology Center of the Stone, also belonging to the Junta de Andalucía and located at the entrance of the town, near the industrial estates. A center destined to the investigation of the new techniques of transformation and investigation on natural stone. Currently Olula del Río is, with Macael, one of the great transforming centers of natural stone in the region. In its industrial estate there are more than 30 companies installed, most of them dedicated to flooring, cladding, stairs, mortars, balustrades, cemetery articles and a thousand other gifts. The craftsmanship is that of marble and it is done in workshops specialized in decorative objects such as fireplaces, ashtrays, vases, columns, statues, clocks, mortars, pestles, chessboards with their pieces and tables. Following the same road, you take direction to Purchena where some local artisans still work with brass and esparto wood. This material, has been one of the most used in the whole region to make implements and tools of agriculture, now in disuse and replaced its original function by the decorative. You can also visit the wooden works in furniture and carpentry of two artisans of the town. Also in Purchena there are numerous stone factories in its municipal area. Near Purchena is Urrácal, where there are no mining operations but a company, Cave Canem, which creates luxury mosaics of Roman inspiration from natural stone.
Another point of great interest in this route is Fines, where you can find the Consortium Escuela del Mármol, belonging to the Junta de Andalucía, the largest specialized training center for stone in the area. A prestigious international marble sculpture competition is held here every two years. A showcase in which artists from all continents meet.