'Espardenyes' from Ibiza
Authentic traditional espadrilles
|Ibiza||Pita fibre and jute||3 days per pair|
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Ten years ago when Isabel first began to make Ibizan espadrilles, or espardenyes, handcrafted products seemed to be almost out of fashion. A lady from the village where Isabel lives in Ibiza, who was more than 70 years old then, taught her how to make these sandals. Around that time, they were only worn at regional dances and nobody would have worn them in the streets.
We are not exactly sure when the original espardenyes date back to. It is said that the Archduke of Austria, Luis Salvador, wore them in the XIX century on his visits to the island. The espardenya you see here is the most traditional and was worn by farmers as they worked on the land.
Production of the espardenya is in no way an easy job, indeed it is a laborious process which must be carried out with great expertise.
Firstly the natural fibre from the pitera plant must be extracted. Next, its leaves are cut and scraped by hand to create fine pieces of thread which are then used to make the cordellí – strands of fibre used to weave the design of the sandal. “The cordellí are made by three ladies aged 80 and above, and they take around two or three days to create them,” Isabel tells us.
Isabel then uses the cordellí to weave what will eventually become the espadrilles on a jute rubber-lined sole. Each pair requires 25 metres of cordellí and one whole day of work.
To clean the espadrilles, dampen them slightly with gauze or a cotton pad soaked in water (only a minimum of water as they shrink). Dab any stains with lemon juice until they disappear. The entire area will turn white at first and later return to its original tone. Finally, remove the lemon with a little more water.
Do not leave in the sunlight to dry because they adopt a yellow tinge. It is advisable to leave them in an airy and shady space.
Consulta la información sobre las 'espardenyes' ibicencas en español