Traditional and contemporary
WEAVING WITH PALM
Chamaerops humilis is a dwarf palm and the only native European member of the palm family. It is commonly known in Spanish as palmito and can be found in Mallorca in the mountainous areas of Andratx, Pollença, Artà and Capdepera. Its leaves are handwoven to produce original items known locally as obra de llatra or obra de llata.
Capdepera and Artà are home to the majority of the master palm weavers. In the past, these items were mainly made for work in the fields or at sea, but this traditional craft has been adapted to modern times and today weavers make modern and elegant items for both the home and fashion.
The process for producing these items is extremely demanding. It begins with hand-picking the palm leaves, which are then dried, bleached or dyed before being hand-woven to obtain the perfect product.
In Capdepera, there is the Museo de la llata, located in the castle, which illustrates the methods and tools of this craft.
Walking through the towns of Artà and Capdepera, which still retain the charm of the past, is like stepping back in time. Here, there are shops that sell these woven items, but you can also find them in the local markets and sold by specialist dealers. You should always make sure you are buying a handmade product to ensure the continuity of this artisan tradition.
WEAVING ESPARTO GRASS
Mallorcan basketry is not just about palm weaving. The cane Arundo donax, introduced by the Arabs, and the native cane, Pharagmites communis, are used to make ropes, handles, baskets, hampers, rugs and more. These commonly used objects - in classic, rustic, traditional or contemporary style - are made from woven esparto grass (obra de pleita).