New Work - Collaboration - Moli de Vent

Sarah has recently collaborated with Tracey Moberly, creating five new screen prints. 

Please find them available to purchase here.

The following is written by Tracey, explaining the process of the work:

Making the pre-Brexit decision I relocated my home and practice from London, gaining permanent residential status in the Balearic Isles. The vibrant summertime; wintertime sleepy coastal area of  Puerto de Pollença in Mallorca has become my home and work base. 

The industrial and natural topography of the environments I pass through or settle in have always had a huge influence on my work practice. The island of Mallorca is rich with its diverse ornithology: being a ‘stop off’ point for a multitude of migrating birds. The climate offers them an abundance of food and water, facilitating a breeding ground for some species. 

A short journey inland from its coastal regions, agricultural areas link together by a series of windmills. The seemingly simple, but complex duality of these windmills navigate water from the land’s water table and to grind the grain the water has nurtured.  

Setting up my Mallorcian studio, I invited my fellow collaborator and friend Sarah Hopkins to help me develop a printmaking facility. Sarah is a master printmaker with 35 years of experience perfecting her craft. Sarah regularly shares her skillset; knowledge and love of printmaking with others as an accessible art form. The aim was to set up a more eco-friendly and sustainable method of printmaking. A masterclass using her production method of delicate hand-cut paper stencils was perfect for this. Working together has helped enhance my skills, allowing me to adopt and develop a future sustainable; eco-friendly and individualistic approach using this method. 

We decided to use our previous collaboration as a platform to continue exploring the theme of  POWER in creating a new body of work here. POWER had been a highly successful 3 year collaborative project with Sarah, myself and musician Martyn Ware. It focused on the industrial landscape and production of steel in Wales and England. POWER had brought together and combined my photographic expertise as a section of my practice and Sarah’s printmaking experience. The printmaking process for POWER had involved photographic stencilling but with its associated chemicals.  

United in our fascination of industrial architecture and their processes, we started to explore the  Windmills of Mallorca. Horizontal flour mills on the island are known to date back to 3000 BC. They were developed and replaced as engineering processes developed over the many centuries into the iconic water and flour mills which date back to the 16th Century. Scattered across the  Mallorcan landscape they are a testament to the engineering acumen of the farmers to harness the wind - that brings the bird migration on the wing - to grind grain and pump the water. 

The oldest and most common type of water extraction windmill, the Ramell (meaning flower), was developed in 1854. Its wooden veins opened manually needing a flat-topped tower to help carry out this process. This was then replaced with wooden blades by Damià Rexach; a carpenter from El  Molinar. A priest, Father Rafael Oliver, added a tail in 1870. The arrow shaped tail allowed the mill to take full advantage of the wind when opened up and then closed by chains when the wind became too strong. The old tailpipe, known colloquially as the rattail fell into disuse. This was superseded by the ferro or iron windmill in the 20th Century and used by smallholder owners outside the villages. This would also generate electricity which would be stored as backup in the  evenings when the wind fell, in order to continue the milling process. The metal windmills operated in exactly the same way as the Ramell mill but were easier to operate and much safer in high 

winds. These were erected on top of the earlier stone built cylindrical mills and were constructed of bricks in a squared format. They were primarily painted in blue and white to symbolize water and air. The invention of the steam engine signalled the demise of these mills, with the last of these taking their final wind cycle in 1964. Many remain in a poor state of repair with, in some cases just the tower section remaining.  

The windmills represent an important part of the island’s history; industry and culture providing an extraordinary presence on the rural landscape. The Mallorca government developed a project dedicated to their restoration in 2004 - using traditional materials and techniques, they are slowly being restored to their former glory. 

Sarah and I produced a limited edition series of 5 prints titled Moli de Vent - the Mallorquian words for windmill. Our series Moli de Vent attempts to pay tribute to these beautiful industrial structures.



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