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Traditional glassblowing made in Majorca.

August 2, 2021 European News No Comments

From lamps to costume jewellery, vases and crockery; carved from turquoise, blue, green or red glass, all of these pieces of art are unique. Thanks to the skills and dexterity of the local  master glassmakers who have kept their ancestors’ techniques alive, they are listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain” and a candidate for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This amazing craft demonstrates the skills of expert glassmakers that have been handed down from one generation to the next since the third quarter of the 1st century. 

Glass-making ovens first appeared in Majorca in 1719 when a young glassmaker from the Gordiola family, previously in the service of the Crown of Aragon, left mainland Spain to settle in Majorca. Having learnt his trade on the island of Murano near Venice years earlier, the young master Gordiola reached out to the Palma Town Hall asking  permission to build the island’s first furnace. The permission was granted and seven generations later, this family of handcrafters and glassmakers is still going strong, keeping their Murano rooted secular art alive.

To create these unique works of art, the master begins the glass-blowing process by introducing the canya, a hollow iron tube, into the furnace that contains the vitreous paste at a minimum temperature of 1,600ºC. Whether or not it is tinted in different colours, once extracted from the oven, the paste is blown through the opposite end until the glass swells like a balloon. The master glassmakers then begin to work on this viscous mass by twisting and turning it into the desired shape with the help of a tallant, the scissors used to cut any excess material. Once cut to shape, the piece is then placed in the cooling oven to prevent the glass from cracking as it loses temperature. 

The Gordiola workshop located in Algaida and their high street boutique in Palma are both open to the public, proving very popular with island visitors keen to learn about the process of glassblowing or simply interested in purchasing their own piece of art as a holiday souvenir.

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