Discover the ancestral technique of llatra in Mallorca
Have you ever heard about the technique of llatra in Mallorca? Here at Hotel Son Jaumell, we’d like to tell you all about this ancestral technique and why it’s so special to the island’s people.
Made from dried palm hearts, llatra is one of the most traditional handicrafts on the island. This dwarf palm tree is found in the area of Artà and Capdepera, as well as in some parts of the Serra de Tramuntana, and this is why the llatra tradition is so deeply rooted in the area.
For many centuries, llatra weavings have been widely used by peasants and fishermen alike, due to their strength and durability. These days, you can still find them in the peasant world, and over the years they have adapted and modernized the technique.
In recent years, llatra has also made its way into the world of fashion and decoration: baskets, hats, rugs and wallets are the most typical products created from this material. Its popularity has led more and more fashion designers, jewellers, interior designers and other experts to include different types of llatra in their designs. This gives a unique and characteristic look to their creations, endowing them with extra quality and value, mainly because the process of making items out of llatra is such a laborious one.
Harvesting the llatra
For some years now, the Obreria de Sant Antoni Abad from Capdepera has been organising the "recollida de la llatra" (harvesting of the llatra) during the month of July. Their intention is to encourage the whole town to continue this centuries-old tradition, while, at the same time, obtaining raw material for the llatra.
Over the last few years, around a hundred people have taken part in the "recollida de la llatra". This is a very laborious job, but the town is making every effort to ensure that this tradition isn’t forgotten. To do so, they recommend that young people take part in the harvesting with items made from llatra. In this way, the tradition will be kept alive for generations to come.
Last year, nearly 100 kg of palm heart were collected and handed over to les dones de la llatra, the women who are in charge of the whole process, in order to keep the tradition alive. In addition, part of this harvest is donated to non-profit organisations in the area, such as the Creu Roja (Red Cross) and the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer de les Illes Balears (the Spanish Cancer Association of the Balearic Islands).
The llatra technique
If you’d like to find out more fascinating facts about how products with llatra are made, then a good place to help you understand the technique is the Museu de la llatra, located in the Castell de Capdepera, very close to the Predi de Son Jaumell Rural Hotel. In a wide variety of exhibitions, you’ll discover all about the process of harvesting, drying, and bleaching the palm leaves, as well as their subsequent weaving, and, finally, the crafting of articles such as baskets or brooms.
In this museum, you’ll also be able to see the tools needed in the manufacture of llatra products, which was one of the most important tasks in the village of Capdepera until the arrival of tourism in the sixties.