Watching glass being blown is impressive and almost hypnotising !
The art of molding red-hot liquid glass to create a work of art requires speed, dexterous handiwork and a trained eye.
Glass making on Mallorca has been practised for thousands of years. It is thought that the Phoenicians first introduced it to the island in the 2nd century B.C. and it has continued to be produced by Romans, Moors and Catalans ever since.
However, what makes Mallorca glass unique is the use of colours, particularly greens and blues.
Today, Mallorca is home to three traditional glass-blowing factories – Gordiola, Lafiore and Menestràlia.
Menestràlia in Campanet founded in 1965, produces glasswork, lamps and decorative pieces. You can watch the masters at work in its exhibition shop. Menestràlia has also innovated over the past decade, producing purple, orange, turquoise and even black pieces.
Lafiore located in Esporles allows you to blow your own piece of glass ! You can even take it home once it cools down a few days later. Lafiore creates domestic pieces in bright colours using distinct oxides and also decorative pieces.
But it is the Gordiola company which is the oldest, established in 1719 when the family arrived from the mainland, and is well worth a visit. There have a shop in Palma and a shop and workshop in Algaida.
Bernard Gordiola ( 1720-91 ) travelled to Venice, the glassmaking capital of the world, to learn the techniques of the master glassmakers which he then brought back to Mallorca.
Visitors to the Gordiola workshop in Algaida can watch master glassmakers as they dip iron tubes into red hot molten glass and then blow down the tube to inflate and shape the glass. It is an art that is still handed down from master to apprentice and takes many years to perfect.
Being handcrafted, no two items will ever be identical. A piece of artisanal glassware makes a truly unique and an authentically Mallorcan keepsake. The shop attached to the workshop is vast ! There is also a Museu de Vidre ( Museum of Glass) on site where objects of glass collected from around the world are on display including Greek, Roman, Persian, Byzantine, Venetian, German and Spanish.
After you have completed your shopping make sure you have time to stop for lunch or dinner at Restaurant Cal Dimoni in Algaida a real local treasure who speciality is Arroz Brut or `dirty rice .´ Delicious !
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