The trade of a “Mestre d’Aixa” (master boatbuilder or shipwright) in the Balearic Islands, is understood as concerned with all things having to do with the construction of the hulls of boats, sailboats, masts, spars and rigging with the use of wood as the main prime material. It is considered a traditional trade and craft that has been in danger of dying out and dissapearing due to the industrialization of the boating industry and the mass production of elements.
The title of “Mestre d’Aixa” takes it’s name from the traditional “aixa” (adze) the basic tool that for millenia has been used in boatbuilding.
The only extant centre for boatbuilders apprentiship is the “Escola de Mestres d’Aixa del Consell de Mallorca” a local Government school and workshop that first opened in 1991, was interrupted in 1994 and then reopened definitly in 2000. With a view to guarantee the recuparation of the trade and to promote it amongst unemployed young persons in the nautical sector. This school developed a number of formative stages that included the teaching of tratitional techniques used in the building of wooden boats with the introduction of some more modern procedures and materials to respond to the demands of today’s market.
Further reaqding about the “Mestres d’Aixa” can be found at:
• Arts i Oficis d’Antany (I). Joan Llabrés Ramis i Jordi Vallespir Soler. Estudis Monogràfics del Museu de la Porciúncula.
• Gran Enciclopèdia de Mallorca. Ed. PromoMallorca. Volums I i X.
• Book: Cent anys de Mestres d’aixa a Mallorca (I i II). Authors: Joan Palmer Published by Grua. Editorial El Tall. Any 1994.