Her soothing, elegant words carry the scent of stone, of the furnace and of nostalgia: they taste of tradition, roots and of the future; they sound of the clatter of rods and glass, so familiar and close. Her phrases flow with the nature and cadence of someone who knows every story, every breath of air, every hand dancing above the flames and the glass transformed into art.
Marisa Aldeguer, a member of the seventh generation of renowned master glassmakers, receives us in the castle inspired by the kings of Majorca in Perpignan. This has been home to the family’s workshop and museum since leaving La Portella on the wall of Palma in the sixties.
At Lottusse, we decided to delve into that surname that we admire and with which we have so much in common. We decide to find out more, to get to know more about the essence, the lineage and the craft. No sooner had we embraced Marisa, full of questions and fondness, than we recognised the complicity of someone who shares a passion. The passion for things made well, unhurriedly, with patience and love – a lot of love. We share the challenge of finding the perfect balance between tradition and innovation.
Her surname, just like Lottusse, is as inextricably linked to high craftsmanship as the Flames a la Fosca by Rosselló Pòrcel. And that is breathed into every shard, into every word.
A lover of art and artists, of artisans and their dedication, of (im)perfection, stripped of prefixes and prejudices, of bubbles that overflow life and art, Marisa is an intimate and calm woman; she’s fun and conspiratorial, a generous hostess in words, charm and attitude.
Before we get down to work, we visit the workshop and then the family museum, full of the treasures that her father, Daniel Aldeguer Gordiola, discovered on each of his travels. Glass treasures flavoured with bygone empires, travels, miscegenation, wisdom and nostalgia that denote an exquisite taste for artisanship and things well made.
When it was still night
When it was not yet day
When it was not yet light
Gordiola already existed…’
This is written on one of the strong, regal walls of the palace surrounding us. Gordiola has existed over three centuries of history in which evolution, war, crisis, machinery, necessity and fashion have sharpened the ingenuity and inspiration both of Marisa and her ancestors in order to give value to the work passed down from generation to generation. This is work cooking on a slow, constant heat, with heart and mind in every gesture, in every sigh; work performed calmly and unhurriedly, with precision and mastery. It is a form of alchemy further from numbers and closer to tradition and craft.
Marisa assures us that seeing the master glassmakers at work is like seeing them dance. A dance, halfway between the delicacy of their hands and the inferno in which the flames burn, full of complicit glances and skilled hands in which the rhythm and the beat must never be lost.
Coordination and dance steps at the service of the art. She assures us that each glassmaker has an individual seal, and makes a comparison that touches our soul: the art of glassblowing is much like the art of writing, it has distinctive features that are always with us. We cannot change our handwriting, just as we cannot change our way of creating, forming and cosseting the glass.
Marisa tells us that her first contact with glass was through her ears. Born at the old workshop in La Portella, she remembers how the scratching of the rods on the glass was the soundtrack to her childhood, how silence became music in the glass painters’ workshop – so calm, so serene – and how she noticed the contrast of that heaven inhabited by women compared with the fire of hell into which the men blew.
Talking of beginnings and memories, the conversation takes a solemn and heartfelt turn. We speak of her closest ancestors, those who were able to pass on their love through their surname and its importance, their sense of taste, their respect for the profession, their seriousness and dedication to their work. As we speak of her father, Marisa reveals a tender and sensitive smile.
What did you learn from your father?
His love for art, his passion for history and travel. My father was a very intelligent man who lived for both his vocation in the legal profession and for the art of glass.
A very intelligent man who conveyed love and respect in everything that he did.
I learned from my father that managing a family business is very complicated, but above all, I learned how to enjoy it just as he did.
My father dedicated his life to preserving the glass tradition in Mallorca. I admire his tenacity. It has been an unrepeatable figure in the art of glass blowing on the island.
It’s clear the impact your father left on you, but what mark do you think you will leave on Gordiola?
I’m not sure, but I have tried to update old methods and create new ones, to innovate without losing sight of tradition and doing so in everything from the lighting to the table. I incorporate new lamp models and I make new brushstrokes. I take care of the colours and the mixtures.
Is the black colour on the glass one of your hallmarks?
Yes, I incorporated it in an empirical way – making deductions, using old recipes, written knowledge about the dye and fire until I got the black that I was looking for. It is a minority colour, more exclusive and aimed at a specific audience but I still like to continue innovating.
As well as respecting the traditional product, I like to introduce new variations so that we don’t end up looking old-fashioned. I understand that past generations wanted specific products that they saw in their grandparents’ houses, but Gordiola is much more than that.
We like to find a balance without ever losing sight of tradition.
At this point, the minutes pass by between questions and answers and we remain engrossed in a spirited, warm conversation full of tradition and good taste, artisanship elevated to artistry, respect and roots.
We talk of the modern, the old, what is in fashion and what will soon be demodé; we talk of how to keep new generations happy without betraying the old ones. We talk about the Mediterranean, so intricate, so ours – it is present in the light and in the colours of its creations; we talk of Venice and its refined glass filigrees, so different to ours, yet so similar; we talk of the weather and its influence, a subject that becomes even more interesting when the person that you have before you talks with the passion and knowledge that Marisa has.
We speak at length and about so many things, but the most important thing is that we speak the same language – that of respect, love and passion for our roots, the product and the times.
We could spend many days inside the walls of that castle which for over two hours has been a veritable refuge in which we’ve emphasised our commitment to exquisiteness and exclusivity. We’re pushed for time but it seems like we’ll never run out of topics. We leave with the unwavering feeling that we share the same philosophy and attitude as Gordiola – a brand that, without a doubt, continues to turn artisanship into art.
If you pass by Algaida, don’t hesitate to stop, look, listen and smell – Gordiola will be in your hearts and minds forever.
Text: Marta Pérez
Photography: Francisco Fonteyne