Mallorca: where colors become fabrics
As small as it is, Mallorca is surprising through the number of local businesses and genuine products. Whether it is about the almonds, the olive trees, the Soller oranges, the leather products or the Mallorcan culture pearls, the people here manage to transform the available resources into amazing products, with a strong identity, setting them apart from anything similar in Europe.
When moving here, five years ago, we have made a promise to ourselves: to try and understand and get to know as much of the local traditions and what Mallorca has to offer. It started with learning the Spanish language and continued with using the local olive oil and the local orange products and the local Angus beef meat. We believe it is a way of showing respect to an adoptive country who welcomed us with open arms and proves to be so good to us.
While searching for resources for a interior décor project, we have come across the Mallorcan ikat fabrics. Ikat is a near universal weaving style common to many world cultures. Likely, it is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration but Mallorca is the only place in Europe where ikats are still made. One of the local manufacturers, Teixits Riera is producing, among other patterns, also the Mallorquin ikats.
This thousand-year-old method of producing textiles is characterized by the dyeing of fibres, whereby bindings are used to stop the penetration of the color in certain areas of the fiber. Then the fibres are dyed, and when the bundle is to be woven, the pattern appears according to the positioning of the bindings and the colours used. In this way, both sides of the cloth are patterned identically.
The Mallorcan ikat has its particular identity, starting with its own name: here it is known as the “cloth of tongues” (roba de llengos or tela de llengües), a reference to the designs which recall flames, or, rather, tongues of flame.
You will recognize it immediately. You will see it used for tapestries, pillow covers, chaise-longues, bags.
We fell in love with the Capuccino Grand Café Borne in Palma de Mallorca, where the American interior designer Michael Smith used the Mallorcan “cloth of tongues”.