Although in the history known to man there are many discoveries that have came about after years and years of development and dedication, the truth is that the list of discoveries that appear by chance is equally as important. Inventions such as glass blowing that came out of the blue by complete luck and has ended up becoming an authentic craft industry in locations such as Mallorca.
To trace back to the initial creation of one of the most symbolic traditions of Mallorca, we have to go back no less than the year 2 BC, at which time the influences of the Phoenicians were at the forefront. This oriental civilization was not only famous for its conquering forces but for the richness of their culture in which colour and glass were prominent features.
The technique was implemented in Mallorca, and with the coming of a golden age set in the Nerón era, it wouldn’t be until the year 1327 for the first official glass blowing furnace to be seen on our Mediterranean lands. The location? The beautiful town of Calvià, in the southeast of the island.
To speak of blown glass today is to speak of a polished but traditional technique in every way and that is that the process continues as centuries ago. A process without technology and without the help of modern tools that only requires a few instruments: molten glass, an iron stick (or a “canya”), some tongs and a furnace. But of course, the master touch is provided by the artisan craftsmen capable of converting what is to the eye just a mere glass globe (after blowing through the tube) into an authentic work of art worthy of any work from the glass blowing powerhouses of Catalonia or Murano (in Venice).
Although there are several craftsmen who have turned their glass blowing creations into a way of life, in Mallorca this craft industry is represented by two heavyweights. Gordiola and La Fiore, two brands made in Mallorca recognised worldwide for their quality and unmistakable style.
The furnaces of Gordiola
The Gordiola family is a benchmark in the sector with a glass blowing tradition that dates back many centuries. And according to the story, it was a Catalan merchant named Gordiola who – around 1720 – financed the first glass furnace in Palma, requested by the artisan Blas Rigal.
After several years of security, the Gordiola family decided to take control of the factory by placing the youngest member of the family at the forefront, a craftsman who had studied the properties of glass in Venice. And while the brand suffered ups and downs at the time, the truth is that in the eighteenth century the half the world’s noblemen had lamps made by craftsmen and vases that had nothing to do with the Venetians.
If you wish to discover the process more closely, talk with the artisans and buy some souvenir pieces, you can not miss out on this workshop on the road that connects Palma and Manacor, 40 minutes from our Blau Privilege Porto Petro Hotel & Spa.
The impossible way of Lafiore
Even though we can see their creations in the shop windows of the Palma airport and other points of the island (including Valldemossa or Deià), Lafiore is another of the leading brands when glass blowing is concerned.
Faithful to the techniques of glass blowing and even though Lafiore’s creations (which you can visit at their workshop located on the highway to Valldemossa) are a real explosion of colour, the brand is a pioneer in the use of “day-tank” glass furnaces. A type of oven in which more original and complicated pieces can be made.
Beyond the gastronomy and the natural beauty of our island, Mallorca is a die-hard lover of crafts. Proof of this can be seen with the traditional “siurells” or the glass blowing of which we have spoken about in great detail, two ever present elements of the geography with a story that deserves to be told.
The most authentic Mallorca with Blau.