If I can’t play, then this is not my revolution

Mercadillo LABshop presents this summer proposal related with nature, play and craftmanship

Published: Jul 14, 2014
If I can’t play, then this is not my revolution

Mercadillo LABshop 2014

By Semíramis González (@semiramis_glez), Semíramis en Babilonia


From July 25 to July 27, a must-attend event returns to the summer of Gijón: The LABshop Design Flea Market. Since its beginning in 2008, this creativity meeting has gained ground and public.

During two days and a half, pieces by young Asturian creators and designers will be exhibited. From useful household objects to fashion, jewellery or reused fabrics.

This year there are many projects which focus on using the past for new applications and the use of natural threads and fibers, everything with this homemade touch of hand-made clothes. There are several examples:

  • RagDoll, where you can get the finished cloth or the pattern to make it yourself at home.
  • Roses in Wonderland, specialising in hand-made purses and accesories.
  • Mimayo, recycling old clothes and fabrics to be used in other objects.
  • Labamba Project, women’s clothing with natural fabrics from local ateliers with their own design.
  • GusmiGusmela, home-made blankets and towels with original fabrics.
  • La Niña Pobre, sustainable fashion and clothes for contemporary dance.


Besides this proposals, there are projects of accesories and jewellery (Pixelízate, Jöelle joyas) or wooden kitchen tools with its own design (David Santiago).

One that has certainly called my attention is To The Wild. They define themselves as a “young independent brand producing tepees and decoration articles for children who are adventurous and parents who have not ceased to be. In their web site this is precisely what we find: Objects to play, spaces created to return to childhood (or to stay in it) and to be able to make up new forms of play (specially the famous tepees, the tents of the North American Indians).

A project by Lole and Diana with pieces that remind us the years of most freedom, those years of our childhood where we could feel free and safe under a blanket acting as a cabin.

Precisely this mix of ideas (a flea market, ateliers and handicraft fabrics, a project that takes us back to childhood) has reminded me the critical dimension of play. The exhibition“Playgrounds. Reinventar la plaza” is being shown at Museo Reina Sofía since last April 30, until September 22, its aim is to analyse and reflect upon the political and social potential of play especially when it takes place in a public space. Based on free time and leisure as the opposite to productive time or the Carnival as a transgressive and subversive practice regarding the stablished social models.

Art has always been closely related to vindication, of any kind, but nevertheless it has not been so close, at least regarding the narration of the exhibitions, to playfulness, to doing for the sake of doing, to playing with no productive or financial purpose.

In Madrid, in Doctor Fourquet, the street were most art galleries are located (right behind Museo Reina Sofía), is located the space “Esta es una plaza” (this is a square), founded in 2008 as a community self-management project of an abandoned urban allotment. It has a vegetable garden, shopfloors and playground and it offers activities such as concerts, public meals or workshops…It claims the right to nature in a city district with no green spaces, to be used by the community. And it has also the playgrounds where children play in the midst of a nature that strives to survive in a harsh environment. A workshop that stands out is dedicated to building handmade mudhouses for kids over 5, as an introduction for children to critical thinking about the place we inhabit and the imagination to make up new worlds.

The “right to laziness is claimed, and here is where play has a potential to go beyond reality. The ability to imagine, the childish utopian dream translates into the creation of unknown worlds, impossible ones, but different to the everyday world. We should never loose this ability to get away from reality; Becoming an adult should not entail loosing the infinite imagination.

LABoral with a flea market, an activity that seems to be apart from any specific museum narrative or great exhibitions, proposes a different use of the museum. More specifically with the programme of this summer. In my opinion what all the activities of LABshop have in common is their closeness with nature. Reusing what is old, what has already served its purpose, handicraft workshops, natural fabrics, own designs, small projects for new ways of creating. Small worlds that come closer to everyone during three days.

Some art topics are usually dealt with as separated spheres but they have a lot in common: The unwieldy inventiveness, daydreaming, abstraction, imagination and even madness. What makes one different from the others? For it seems that the most obvious aspect that separates them is who does each. Children are able to invent worlds, invisible and fantastic beings, talk with invisible friends that other people cannot see, dance anywhere on the street as if we were not seeing them. They are able to get away from our reality and get to another one. And I think this is the potential of play, of innocence, that should never be lost. Why not start dancing whenever we feel like it, wherever we are? And visiting a museum to laugh? Are not museums, somehow, spaces for the utopian dream? And if they are not, if the utopian dream is still a pipe dream, they should be at least spaces that allow us to think of it, to imagine it.

The tepees that children build to enter other worlds must be build when we are adults, at least to avoid loosing our capability to get away. And museums could be the right place.

  • Information

  • Los Prados, 121
  • 33203 Gijón (Asturias)
  • Spain
  • Phone: +34 985 185 577
  • Contact


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