Each year in January Mallorca celebrates its patron saints Sant Antoni and Sant Sebastià with huge fires and wild correfocs. Actually, fire tongues are popular on the island all year round. The fabric with the traditional llengües pattern is made in an elaborate process that only three manufactures master, today. In their workshop in Pollença Teixits Vicens proudly introduces you to the making-of.
The ancient dyeing technique named ikat came to the Mediterranean via the Silk Road a long time ago. In short, it’s 70% cotton and 30% linen for the fabric. Tons of used bicycle tubes to tightly wrap the yarn into the desired pattern. About twenty basic colors to mix the intended shade, warm and cold water and some more formulas for the dying. And then there is the weaving.
But we are not talking about a fast process here. At Vicens they take as much care as patience, skills and knowledge to turn more than two thousand of cotton threads into the bright, intricate pattern we call “cloth of tongues”. The artisans in the workshop at Vicens are truly artists. Their technique is passed on only within the family. The most important details remaining a well-kept secret, of course.
Teixits Vicens’ workshop in Pollença dates back as far as 1854. And it is family-owned until today. Keeping the traditions but also adapting to changing demands. In their store you find almost everything, from cushions to curtains, from table decoration to bedding. Among their customers are renowned hoteliers and restaurateurs. Like Can Joan de s’Aigo who had Teixits Vicens design and manufacture seat covers with llengües pattern for their new café in Palma.
Many of my favorite places on Mallorca remind me of the visit in Pollença. Now it’s even when I have to change a flat tyre during a cycling trip. Mostly just annoying. But now I know that the old tube may still be good for manufacturing something precious and really beautiful.