A maternity leave in the middle of winter led the German Lisa Heschel to choose a place to spend the first weeks with her newborn in a place less cold than Berlin. She had been to Mallorca several times on vacation and, together with her partner, she decided to move to Pollença, in the north of the island, for a few months to enjoy a warmer winter. The need to find a little space in her new maternity hospital made her go online to look for ceramic courses, but she did not find much on offer. Finally, and after doing some research on social media, she found a local artist who agreed to give her some private lessons in her studio.
From this idea came the germ of what is now Dada-Days, a digital platform that allows those who spend a few days on vacation in Mallorca to access experiences that go beyond the gastronomic offer or sun and beach. Through this web page, Heschel offers courses in different disciplines with the added value of taking them in the private workshops of the artisans and accessing places scattered throughout the island’s geography that they would not know through the excursions usual.
Pottery and jewelry classes in Sóller; bookbinding in Palma; experimental drawing in the artistic Deià, or learning the technique of collage inspired by Joan Miró in front of the sea in Cas Català. Added to these are other courses in Japanese calligraphy, glass, dance or botanical design using the Kokedama technique that can be taken in small private groups or together with other visitors who share the desire to participate in a different activity for a few hours.
“My experience when I took the classes was very good, especially because of the possibility of entering the craftsman’s workshop. I really thought it was something very authentic that allowed us to get to know Mallorca in a different way”, Heschel explains to EL PAÍS, who before leaving Berlin to start this adventure worked in an art gallery in the German capital. When the maternity leave was over, the couple returned to Germany. “It was February and it was very cold. The city began to seem heavy to me to live with a child and after thinking about it a lot we decided to return to live in Mallorca”, he says.
With the idea in mind, he discovered the immense cultural offer of the Balearic island, complemented by dozens of gastronomic or outdoor proposals, but with a lack of courses and workshops to “work with his hands” for a few hours and live a more close to the reality of the area. Little by little he was recruiting artisans for his proposal, which many have seen as an opportunity to make themselves known beyond the borders of Mallorca.
Under a bougainvillea roof, in the patio of her workshop in Sóller, the ceramist Luciana Luca teaches courses. A German family of seven is busy turning the wheels to shape bowls. “I love that people get to know Mallorca and not only take the beaches with them as memories. There are a lot of artists, a lot of culture, and open my little workshop it’s like opening the door to my house”, says Luca.
The courses also give her the opportunity to meet “very interesting” people who, even after a while, write to her to comment on their progress. Most of the clients of these courses are German, although there are also Austrians, Swedes and a good group of foreigners who reside most of the year on the island. Those who teach the workshops are natives of Mallorca or artisans who have lived here for many years.
The main attraction of the activities is, for Heschel, the connection that is created when you enter a creative workshop and get to work with your hands. “It’s not easy for visitors to get to know locals or understand authentic customs in as short a time as a vacation usually is,” she says.
Its objective is for the workshops to act as a “catalyst and source of inspiration” to achieve a more respectful and responsible approach towards a top-level tourist destination such as Mallorca, offering a new perspective that raises awareness “of the need for socially committed tourism”. In the future, its creator hopes that Dada-Days can be expanded to other places to allow its visitors to immerse themselves in the destination, always through an artistic lens.