Martí Vicenç Alemany “Bonjesús” (Pollença, 1926-1995). Craftsman and versatile artist
Textiles became a part of his life since he was born; his grandparents owned a small wool and linen textile workshop on 55 Lleó street. Later on, his father, Martí Vicenç i Vilanova, introduced the “llengües” fabric and a much freer style in Pollença textiles.
Martí and his brother Rafel worked at the loom at a very tender age weaving the hemps; a kind of wool and linen aprons. Martí didn’t have the chance of being instructed by his father, since the latter died at a very young age during the Spanish Civil War. Hence, he could not transmit all the tricks of the trade to his son. Nevertheless, with his little experience and the aid of his father’s notes, Martí “reinvented”, as he used to say, the “llengües” fabric, giving it a personal touch, experimenting with colours and patterns.
All this process started in a small workshop on Pou del Verger street, which was later moved to Reis Catòlics street. In the meantime, he married Antònia, in whom he found the ideal companion to exteriorize his creative urge. Meanwhile, colours and textures flowed in his mind creating an extense and innovating collection -without losing the artisan spirit of Mallorcan clothing- which he adapted to all sorts of athmospheres. This allowed him more freedom to produce upholstery, table clothing, bedroom clothing and so on.
With much effort, the couple bought the house of Can Sionet, on Pollença Calvari, present site of the Museu Martí Vicenç. The workshop became soon too small, hence it was moved to Can Berenguer, at the crossroads between Pollença and Port de Pollença.
At present, Antònia Capllonch, leading Teixits Vicenç surrounded by a young and enterprising team, continues this tradition producing fabrics adapted to our time: a versatile combination of both craftsmanship and modernity.
We cannot forget Martí Vicenç’ artistic activity which was the source of a large number of paintings and sculptures that sprang out from his eagerness to reflect his trade and his desire to go beyond tradition, experiencing with materials and spaces. In order to find the roots of this activity, we should go back to 1955 (date of his marriage). At that time, a relative of his wife, Pep Balater, had a carpentery, where Martí had the chance to start carving wood.
Partly influenced by Pollença’s artistic athmosphere, which by then was at its peak, and also by his restless personality, he also started painting.He first used classical tecniques, progressively moving towards a more unconventional use of materials such as: wood, tins, elements found on the beach, and above all, threads and textile materials. This activity accompanied him throughout the rest of his life leading him to the creation of a great amount of works, works which were never born with a commercial purpose, but out of mere personal satisfaction.
His commitment to his fellow-citizens led him to step into local politics, always with a clear left-wing approach, always committed to social issues. After this intense activity he still found time to dedicate to another of his great passions: Nature, both the sea and the mountain.
A master of textiles
One of the key elements in Martí Vicenç’ life is his trade as a craftsman. The world of textile was a part of him from the day he was born until the time of his death. He had the ability to adapt his creations to the needs that changed with time. Through constant evolution, he developed an avantgarde crafts which never lost his personal trademark.
The fabrics are divided into several collections which share the “llengües” pattern: standard, classic, multicolored and plain. The classic pattern are the version he made of the typical Majorcan fabrics which used dark blue, light blue, green and yellow as basic colors.
He created his own style following the classic pattern but with a much freer style, less rigid, using a wider range of colors. The multicolored pattern meant a risky option at the time; a spectacular display of extraordinary creativity. Stripes constituted a field where Martí felt at home; where he researched and created fabrics both elegant and fun where colors were endlessly combined. On the other hand, he also created a collection of essential plain colors to allow him more freedom to combine them.
The crafts process is basically the same as it was originally; The preparation, which is a basic part of the process, is totally manual, with the only intervention of a mechanical loom at the very last stage.
All this miscellany of fabrics, together with those designed by Antònia Capllonch, currently responsible for Teixits Vicens Design Department, are nowadays produced with the same freshness as they started; they combine to perfection in all kinds of styles and atmospheres.