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The art of working with one’s hands


Pottery is one of humankind’s oldest arts, dating back to about 12 000 BCE, in the Stone Age. Since then we have been eating from clay and terracotta plates and drinking from jugs made from the same material. Objects that were gradually refined with the passing of the centuries, eventually becoming veritable works of art in the hands of master ceramicists.

Neglected for decades, the passion for ceramics reemerged in Mallorca with a wave of new creators. At the forefront of them all is one of the most important ceramicists in Europe, Joan Pere Català Roig, who built his very own Japanese kiln, called an Anagama - one of only eight that exist in Spain - with his own two hands. “When I create my pieces there is a staggering emotional charge: something technical and familiar, and a projection towards the future, a creative intention and a concept,” he confesses.

His brother, Jaume Roig, created his first piece at age four, and by the time he was 12 he was already working in the atelier of his mother, the artist Malena Roig. He now exhibits his works in art galleries and sells pieces in Paris and other European cities, proclaiming the pleasure of playing like a child. “Everyone has their strong suit and mine is my hands. They work on their own for me. With them I create stories, I can learn and play”, he says in his small workshop in Ses Salines, in the southwest of the island.

Balbina Fullana is one of the most successful young ceramicists on Mallorca. In fact, her pieces are available to customers who visit Rialto Living.

When she works with clay, Balbina says that the constant sound of the potter’s wheel immerses her in a state of total disconnection. “I focus on the piece and I don’t care what might have happened to me during the day. Touching your work with your hands is a very pleasant sensation, it’s very different to sitting in front of a computer all day. I feel peace, tranquillity and concentration”.

For Roberto Paparcone, working with ceramics is like doing yoga. Indeed, the first thing he was taught when he first came into contact with the potter’s wheel was to sit down and breathe. His creations have emerged from the need to work with his hands, and are displayed in the old garages in Calle Sant Feliu, very close to Rialto Living. Contemporary pieces clearly influenced by his past as an architect, and by Mediterranean nature.

Some other renowned Mallorcan ceramicists are Irene Forteza, who learned from Jaume Roig, moulding pieces full of imperfections with her hands, “so that every single work is unique”; or Carolina and Antonio, creators of Oveja de Plata, who aspire to turning “simple objects into objects of beauty”.

Beauty like that of the ceramic items created by Klas Kall, one of the founders of Rialto Living, inspired by the Mediterranean and which – of course – can be contemplated and acquired at Rialto Living, the concept store that exudes relaxed elegance in Palma.

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