The Art of Glassblowing in Mallorca
Apr 21, 2015
The Phoenicians introduced the art of glass making to Mallorca in the 2nd century BCE. Today the glass factory of Gordiola is one of the island's year-round tourist attractions. The present factory was built in 1969, but the Gordiola family glassblowing trade has existed since 1719. Vidrieries Gordiola, which comprises of an art museum, a factory part and a glassblowing workshop, is located on the outskirts of Algaida, about 22 km distance from Palma and easily reached with car hire from Mallorca Airport.
Algaida lies in the south-east of Mallorca and is surrounded by six small mountains that attract hikers and climbers, but this challenging terrain with the Puig de Randa at its core is also home to one of the island's oldest crafts. Handcrafted glass objects today are typically blown, but when the Phoenicians brought glass-making to the Balearics, glass artefacts were made by using clay or sand moulds into which molten glass was poured. After cooling, the mould was peeled away to reveal a beautiful iridescent artefact that was highly prized throughout Europe.
Glassblowers use an iron tube, with which they pick up a blob of molten glass. They then blow into the tube, inflating the molten glass into a bubble. By revolving the iron tube into this direction and that, this bubble is shaped with the help of tongs into whatever shape the glassblower intends the artefact to have.
Once the desired shape has been achieved, the glassblower separates the molten glass from the iron tube with a sharp blade. The Gordiola museum displays a bewildering array of glass artefacts. There is also a shop, where visitors can purchase glass products as gifts for friends and family at home. This is Mallorca's oldest glassblowing family concern. The factory is located at Carretera Palma-Manacor, KM 16.
Other Algaida Attractions
Algaida is well worth the price of a day's car rental from Mallorca Airport - the town boasts a number of attractions, not just the factory but also the lovely 15th century Santuario de Nuestra Senora de Gracia hermitage, which looks like a swallow's nest perched on a steep promontory, and the equally lovely 14th century Santuario de Sant Honorat, which sits on a level below and overlooks the town. In Algaida town centre the pilgrimage chapel of Mare de Deu de la Pau de Catellitx and various restaurants are also worth visiting.