Jan 8, 2024
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
- By
Blaire Dessent
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
Jan 8, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
Jan 8, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
A grassroots initiative brings design, community and sustainability together, establishing an exciting new local industry for the island.
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
Jan 8, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
Jan 8, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Llanatura, Uncovering the Potential of Mallorcan Wool
Jan 8, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Gemma Salvador, co-founder of Llanatura
A

s anyone who lives in or visits Mallorca knows, flocks of fluffy sheep are a frequent sight across the island. From the northwest mountains down throughout the central valley and onto the south, postcard worthy sheep are often seen grazing on grass or seeking out shade below an old olive tree. In certain areas, it is not that uncommon to be stopped on the road as a herd passes by. Sheep form a valuable resource for Mallorca beyond just their cuteness-factor, and until recently, that resource was mainly for meat. But what of all that thick, warm wool?

Enter Llanatura, an exciting new initiative and circular wool factory in Inca that is developing new possibilities for the almost endless supply of local sheep’s wool. Founded in 2020 by Gemma Salvador and Eugenia Marcote, with the support of the Fondation Garrover, a non-profit organisation based in Inca that supports people with mental health issues through social and work programs, Llanatura is educating and expanding the potential uses of local wool in new and inventive ways. Salvador, an environmental consultant and Marcote, a fibre artist, met during the pandemic, at a time when they were independently thinking about new ways of making a positive impact in Mallorca, both wanting to connect with the island’s natural beauty, use local resources and create a sustainable project. They began on a small scale, finding solutions to cleaning and processing the wool, all of which is done using neutral soaps and minimal water.  Cleaning Mallorcan sheep wool is complicated and time consuming and had always been an impediment to earlier projects that used it as a primary material. As Salvador explains, “Wool can be an environmental problem when it is burned and discarded, but it is also a local product, a sustainable and recyclable product with enormous potential from protective clothing (it naturally absorbs humidity and wet) to sound absorption to stuffing for cushions or insulation”.

Processing the wool on traditional machinery
Raw wool before it is processed

The textures and tones of the wool reflect the natural beauty of the island and its sheep. There are four main colours: Cru, the white wool from the Oveja Mallorquina breed, Pedra, which comes from the natural wool fibres of the Oveja Rojo Mallorquina breed, Café, a mix of white and dark wools that they process in-house, and the Dark wool fibre. Each wool has its own distinctive texture when processed; the lighter wools, Cru and Pedra, are easier for spinning but all are usable for felting.

Collaboration is an essential part of the mission of Llanatura. In 2022, they began working with Elisabeth Colom, an architect, artist and founder of the brand Santa Palma. Colom serves as an advisor on the design and creative direction of the brand, and she designed Llanatura’s first collection of one-of-a-kind kimonos, cushions and shoes, reinforcing the potential of the wool as a material for clothing and home design, which can also be stylish and contemporary. In late 2023, they collaborated with Alex Martinez Mestre, who designed a series of circular wall lamps covered in soft, felted wool.

The team are also working on new ways to felt and process the wool so that  it can be blended with other natural materials from flowers to linen, creating different fabrics and textures for new patterns and designs.

“In ten years, we might be surrounded by Artificial Intelligence and robots, but the wool will still be here and it will still connect us with nature”.
A mix of white and brown felted wool being prepared at the studio
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