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Glass was introduced in Mallorca by the Phoenicians in the 2nd century BCE. They settled along the coast, where they built their glass furnaces. Historians say that Mallorca experienced a golden age of glassmaking under Greek and Carthaginian rule. Venetian artisans excelled in glassworking and Mallorcan glassmakers imported glassware from Venice and learnt their techniques in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century Mallorcan glass reached its most fruitful period with the artistic glass produced in the Can Gordiola workshops. They still produce some of the most beautiful and internationally renowned handicrafts of Mallorca.
Glassblowing is an ancient handicraft technique that requires great ability and absolute control. Glass is heated at very high temperatures and is moulded with a blowpipe to form almost magical shapes of extraordinarily beautiful colours. The skills and creativity of the artisan are essential to create these wonderful pieces by spreading, melting, mixing and adhering the colours. They use a metal straw to form wonderful shapes with interior volume.
The first furnace to make artistic glass in Mallorca was built in Can Gordiola in 1719. The businessman who financed it was of Catalan-Aragonese origin. He sent his son from Barcelona and put him in charge of the furnace. The young man had learnt glassmaking in Venice and was the first of a long line of glassmakers in the Gordiola family that continues to the present day. The beautiful handicraft from the Gordiola furnace can be found all over the world. They have gained success in the main international fairs and their facilities and museum have been visited by the European royalty, presidents and prime ministers and the most popular artists that come to Mallorca.
The glassblowing process (“bufat” in Catalan) is demonstrated by the experienced artisans in the furnaces of Can Gordiola in Algaida. The facilities are open to the public and visitors can take guided tours. It is a spectacle of great beauty in which you can see the artisans demonstrating their skills and great experience. They mould wonderful, unique pieces, both artistic and decorative. The pieces made by Can Gordiola (lamps, elegant and ornamented vases, bottles, glasses, etc) stand out for their delicate shapes and exclusive, precious colours (turquoise blue, green, amethyst, purple, topaz). They are considered genuine glass jewels and unique pieces of an ancient art.
Gordiola is the first stop of a tour of the most ancient handicraft of Mallorca. The visit continues in Campanet, where you will find the Menestralia furnace and finishes at s´Esgleieta, in the municipality of Esporles, in the facilities of Lafiore, the third glass-making company of Mallorca. The objects created by the expert hands of their artisans are equally artistic and beautiful. Both companies are renowned in and outside Mallorca.
The furnace of Menestralia was built in the 1970s. Their glass is more rustic and opaque. It has unique colours and tonalities and is astonishingly beautiful. Menestralia’s master artisans work skillfully and masterfully to create genuine artistic and decorative objects. They preserve the traditional methods of glassblowing, which you can see when you visit the furnace and facilities.
Lafiore is also internationally renowned. It makes decorative objects made of artistic glass and colourful, original objects of different shapes for the home. Their amphoras, vases, cruets and lamps are unique examples of the best artistic glass of Mallorca. You can buy the pieces made by Mallorcan artisans at the glassmaking facilities, as well as in shops all over the island and in Palma Airport. They are the perfect gift of the most genuine and ancient Mallorcan popular art.
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