In the romantic city of Navata, the workshop of Ventura & Hosta Cartons, where the Giants of Navata and many other figures are brought to life, is located. The studied ceramicist Neus Hosta and her husband David Ventura decided in 1984 to also share their professional path. Although trained as a jeweller, David produces figures out of cardboard since 1980 and was so pleased by this work that he wanted to continue the trade with the help of his wife. Obviously successful, as many cities in the province of Girona now possess their own giants and the name of the family-run business is well-known.
Well, how are they produced, those huge and small figures, the masks and installations? Neus demonstrates the “negatives“ of a mask to us. These are earthenware vessels in the shape of a face as well as a back of the head into which liquid cardboard is casted. After the sticky mass has dried, it is got out of the vessel and the two sides of the face are united carefully by hand with the help of glue and stapler needles.
At the end, filigree drawings and well-chosen colors give character to the figures and convert them into the so-called “positives“. More than one month can be spend to produce such faces because the glue has to dry in the sun, but this allows the couple to work on several works at the same time.
The best-known figures of Ventura & Hosta Cartons might be the giants which are more than 3 metres high, have an imposing weight of 40kg, and allow a person to step in and to move it.
Many of the surrounding cities possess their own giants which are taken out for festivals and are brought to dance. The enthusiasm for this among the people is big.
But most of all, this spectacle is fun for the children, we are told by Neus. This gave them the idea to also create small giants out of clay to play with.
Besides the figures, also installations can be discovered. “El tiempo múscial“ is a roundabout on which figures, driven by gearwheels, are dancing to music. They look so authentic that you have the impression they will jump down the roundabout and look for a new dancing partner.
Customers scramble to get the works. Theatres often ask David and Neus to design their sceneries. But also famous people like the brothers Roca whose restaurant “El Celler de Can Roca“ is well-known for its free style kitchen, let themselves be done a figure. Others want the couple to create a portray of them for a present or for having a personal memory. Those portrays cost around 35€ and are ready to be collected after 15 days.
Not everything can be bought – the giants are unique. But there is a huge selection of miniatures which can be brought home for 25€. A unique present for the kids of the family are definitely the horses in different sizes, into which they can step. You might have to dig a bit deeper into your pockets to buy one of these – they are worth between 150€ and 350€. Also masks are available, they cost 120€ and can be used as a decoration at home or they might guarantee a special appearance at the next carnival.
The production of all those wondrous things are only done by Neus and David. Only when having a big sales order, they have a helping hand. The two work together since 34 years now – every step of process can be done in sleep and the attention to detail can be seen in every figure.
If you like to have a look at the offer of Ventura & Hosta, come over to the workshop in Navata or inform yourself about the current range of masks and figures on the website www.venturahosta.net !