By Guillermo Martinez and Isabel Infantes
VALVERDE DE LA VERA, Spain (Reuters) – The sun beats down on the narrow streets of the Spanish village of Valverde de la Vera, filtered through multi-coloured shades made out of plastic shopping bags and the remains of old advertising billboards.
A group of mostly elderly residents have got together to weave the panels out of recycled materials to decorate their home, protect their neighbours from the scorching heat and do their bit for the environment.
“We value the shade, especially because of the high temperatures that we have had this year, but also because … they were made by people from the village,” resident Marina Fernandez, a 41-year-old architect and designer, told Reuters.
Spain has suffered three unusually long heatwaves this summer that have stoked devastating wildfires and exacerbated one of the worst droughts in decades.
Weavers use knitting needles to wind the plastic into thin strips which are then made into shades and hung over the streets to shield people from the sun.
Some of the shades show images of a woman meeting a man while others are simply a blaze of bright colours.
Manuel Fernandez Sanchez, a 69-year-old retired teacher, said weaving was not just for women in this village of 483 people about 150 km (90 miles) west of Madrid.
“We are a small community … A public arts project is very interesting for the village from many points of view: social, environmental, from a human point of view, and for tourism,” he said as he worked away at another strand of recycled plastic.
(Writing by Graham Keeley, editing by Andrei Khalip and Andrew Heavens)