For centuries, South Tyrol's farmers lived in self-sufficient communities, producing almost everything they needed themselves. Long winter evenings were spent spinning, weaving, embroidering with quills, sewing and carving wood. Articles for daily use, such as baskets and woollen stockings, were produced this way, as were artistic items such as nativity figurines and the accessories of typical South Tyrolean holiday clothing. This craftsmanship was often a means for family subsistence and improved the economic situation in some valleys. This was the case with “lace making” in the Tauferer Ahrntal valley for instance, and was even more true in the Val Garden valley with wood carving, which became an important cottage industry in South Tyrol.
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