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Artisan Association PITA-ESCUELA del Rio Aguas

Experiencing nature with all senses is the most direct way
to develop a true environmental awareness.

The Pita-School is a Center for Environmental Artistic Education. Our work is based on artistic creation combined with experiences focused on nature, sustainable development and music. Certified by the Andalusian Government as an ‘Artisan Association’, our headquarter is located in a self-sufficient village in the heart of the Natural Park ‘Karst en Yesos de Sorbas, a unique ecosystem found in the Almerían desert. 

The project was founded in 2008 by the German Tim Bernhardt. The professional craftsman, multi-instrumentalist, innovator and musical instruments maker lives in Almería since 1993 where he has specialized in the integral use of agave (pita) wood for more than 25 years.

 

ART AND NATURE EXPERIENCES

We provide unique Activities in a stunning environment for you to live an art and nature experience. We give an example for a Self-Sufficient House including a sustainable accomodation and a solar-powered Music Studio with over 60 musical instruments.

Our workshop space, the educational garden with more than 30 Agave varieties and our artistic museum take part in the different types of tours and workshops that we offer to all those visitors interested in learning about the plant of a thousand wonders, about music, nature and sustainable development.

Our goal in times of climate crisis is the realization of an innovative project that provides meaning and symbolic value to the most arid region in Europe, for which it is essential to develop a responsible strategy for sustainable agriculture and a growing environmental awareness.

Some of the topics we treat are:

Sustainable resources,  wood from the desert, art and music creation, nature, climate crisis, sustainable development, organic agriculture, geology, history and hydrology, flora and fauna.

Contact us

Asociación PITA-ESCUELA del Río Aguas
Los Molinos del Río Aguas, Buzón 88
04270 - SORBAS, Almería, España
Tlf.: +34/630 66 18 65 (Timbe)
E-Mail: pitaescuela@hotmail.com
Facebook: Pita Escuela

THE WOOD OF THE DESERT

A VALUABLE TOOL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
 

  Agave wood is collected once the plant has completed its life cycle, an aspect that makes it an exceptional 100% sustainable resource from the desert. Timbe makes use of this aspect by conducting thematic tours of his project in which he reflects on such important issues today as sustainable development and resources, the environment, nature, organic agriculture, water scarcity and the climate crisis.

 

  Visit our ONLINE SHOP to discover our wide range of sustainable Handicrafts, ideal tools for environmental education and perfect gifts for people who are conscious and respectful with the environment.

Our Story

IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS A DRUM
 
What began with the creation of a drum later developed into a much deeper passion in the integral usage of the agave. Since then, the ongoing research in this area has become a way of life for Tim Bernhardt (founder of the Agave School), who uniquely specializes in the use of the agave wood to give it new life in various forms and uses.
 
Visit our PHOTO BLOG and get to know more about the historical background of a pioneer way of living….
 
“On my first travel through Andalusia, back in November of 1993, I got to know Pedro, a Spanish artist from Valencia, who showed me how to make my first drum from the dry flower stems of the agave. My passion for this plant began when I got to know its unique lifecycle and the warm sound of my very first ‘Timbe Drum’. As I was mostly interested in woodwork, music & travelling, I thought that I had possibly found the perfect opportunity to combine my three interests into a way of living.
 
After returning to Hamburg in 1994, I decided to go back to Andalusia (Spain) to make more of these fabulous instruments! Ten years of drum-making followed in which I made about 250 Timbe Drums, some even used in professional recording studios.
 
See this TIMBE DRUM-MAKING VIDEO on Youtube! A story about the union between a sound body and the skin of an andalusian goat. The birthday of a musical instrument.
 
In the following years, I lived like the birds, spending sunny Andalusian winters in the south and fresh German summers in the north. In 1998, I organized my first drum-making workshop and started to pass along the knowledge that I had acquired thus far.
 
In 2002, I settled down in Andalusia and became more and more interested in the botanical aspects of the agave and its multiple uses. After 10 years of drum-making, I started creating all kinds of different musical instruments and handcraft articles like lamps, masks and ‘magic villages’. Finally, I got to process each single millimeter of the flower stems.
 
Furthermore, in 2008, I began to settle in Los Molinos where I founded the Association Pita-Escuela del Río Aguas. The Agave school is the place where I now live. The project developes and continuosly doors open for new educational and musical colaborations.
 
On November 3rd of 2018 we celebrate the 25th ANNIVERSARY of that very first ‘Timbe Drum’, where it all began….
 
But what began with the creation of a drum, developed into a much deeper passion for the integral use of the Agave plant and my researches have become a way of life for me. Being pioneer in the specialization of the use of the wood of the desert, giving it new life in several forms and uses, I keep the passion, always develope new ideas and the story never ends…, and in 2018 we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of this enthusiastic and unique project!”
 
By Timbe, 2019

Our Pita-Team

Since the foundation of the Pita-School, many people have participated in the project to learn or to contribute with their respective skills. Some of them got more deeply involved with our Pita-Team and we are very grateful to everyone for making it possible for this association to continue to develop.
Tim Bernhardt a.k.a. TIMBE

I’m a multi-instrumentalist, innovator, educator, manufacturer of musical instruments and pioneer in the specialization of the integral use of Agave wood (Pita) with more than 25 years of experience. Registered in the Andalusian Artisan Registry, I am a member of the Association of Professional Artisans of Almería (AAPAL) and in July 2020 my workshop received recognition as a ‘Artisan Point of Interest‘ by the Andalusian Government ‘Junta de Andalucía’. Born in Hamburg (Germany), in a family of musicians passionate about traveling, I spent part of my childhood between Ibiza and different countries in Africa and at a young age I discovered B&W photography and started to develope my photos in my own laboratory: www.flickr.com/photos/elpitaco/

In 1993 I settled in Almería (Spain) wherre the making of my first ‘Timbe Drum’ was the beginning of a great passion and a long story. Like nobody in Europe I study the Agave in all its senses, giving its wood new life in various forms and uses. Collaborating with numerous artists from different cultures around the globe, over the years I have become a multi-talented craftsman. Since 2004 I have participated in a wide variety of events such as exhibitions, workshops, markets and music festivals – locally, nationally and internationally. My work has been published on several occasions and in media such as TV2, Canal Sur, Inter Almería TV and in Magazines such as ‘RONDA‘ of the Iberia airline and the ‘Sukkulentenwelt‘ of the botanical center of the city of Zurich.

In February 2007 & 2008, I organized a few Agave-wood workshops in the  projects of our family NGO in Ethiopia. The charity was founded by my parents in 2006. We support vulnerable and disadvantaged children & youth. Watch & share our Fundraising-Video, subtiteled in 9 languages: We Don’t Want Your Money  More Information: LiveLoveAndLearn.org Also enjoy our charity song ‘Live, Love & Learn‘, filmed in one of our orphanages and composed by my brother Mo Brandis, a singer, songwriter & music producer of the legendary band Incognito – UK.

In 2008 I opened my artisan workshop in a self-suffitient village located in the Natural Park  ‘Karst en Yesos de Sorbas’ (Almería), where I founded the Artisan Association Pita-Escuela in 2011.

Passionate about music, I welcome you to listen to some of my compositions, recorded in our Music-Studio: COME BACK / THE TRAVEL / THE FEELIN’

Ignacio García López

I am a Sports Technician in Caving and member of the Board of Directors of the Association, living in Cariatiz (Sorbas). I had my first contact with the Pita School in 2010 and I was impressed by its potential as a tool for environmental education.

In recent years, I collaborated on thematic routes, taking our groups to the source of the river ‘Río Aguas’ covering topics such as the geology, hydrology, flora, fauna and history of this unique place, familiarizing our visitors with the richness of the Natural Park ‘Karst en Yesos de Sorbas’.

Currently, I collaborate on different projects for the conservation of this area through different local associations, caving clubs and the University of Almería.

For me, my main motivation for the collaboration with the Pita School is to be able to participate in the teaching, the education related to the sustainability of our environment, the social and integration process, especially for young people, to help them learn to develop in a responsible way, building a future with a future.

José M. García

Hola, my name is Jose. For many years now, I am connected in various ways with the opuntia (nopal) and the agave (pita) plant. I got to know Timbe in 2008, on an artesian market in San José (Almería), where I was hallucinating with the possibilities of the agave. A little bit later, I made a desert wood workshop with him in Los Molinos. This was the beginning of a great passion.

Due to my studies in the University of Alicante, I investigated a substrate obtained from the agave for the purification of water, what finally was one of the reasons for me to travel to Mexico. There, I got to know the traditional doctor from the Otomí tribe Don Miguel Trejo González, with whom I started working during the period of 8 months. In May 2011 Miguel visited the Pita-School to impart the first Workshop for Integral Usage of the agave and opuntia.

Traveling this path, I have discovered its many uses and traditional applications. I became aware of its enormous potential as a natural, social and economic resource for many people on the planet. That’s why I feel it is important to spread this knowledge, for the benefit of mother earth and its inhabitants.