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"David had the skills to reproduce theartwork on the moulds, that was theinitial reason for him to come along.Now he does everything to do with theartistic side to our work," explains Mark. Since 1995, the pair has had a studioat vibrant visual arts centre ProjectWorkshops, near Andover, Hampshire(see separate box), where theyspecialise in recreating Roman glass. "Roman glass fascinates me as itrepresents the beginning ofglassblowing," says Mark. "Within thespace of a generation the Romanglassblowers mastered a wide variety oftechniques. To make their glass they hadto work quickly and accurately, using thetools and technology of their day."Recently, Mark and David have workedon glass from other periods, includingancient Egyptian core formed vessels,English medieval glass and 18th-centurydrinking glasses, studying vessels fromthese periods and learning thetechniques required to reproduce them. Glass is formed of silica (sand),soda and lime fused at very hightemperatures. The earliest glassdiscovered is from Mesopotamiaaround 2500BC,where it wasused for seals, beads and otherdecoration. It is only about 1,000years after this that vessels areproduced, but it is at around 50BC, inPhoenicia, that the real revolutionoccurs: glass blowing. Some 12 yearspreviously, Rome had taken control ofthe region and the consequences wererapid. Glass became cheaper, with aROMAN GLASSMAKERSNADFAS AT SUMMER SPECIALThe Project Workshops SummerExhibition(May 7-9) offers originalartworks and contemporary crafts in apicturesque setting. A charitable event,proceeds go to the Alzheimer's Society.There will be a silent auction of some ofthe artists' work (the catalogue will beon the website so bids can be takenbefore the event). All resident artistshave open studios and work to sell, andsome offer demonstrations. The newtimber-framed barn will house visitingartists, as well as NADFAS HampshireArearepresentatives who have a standto promote the Association and localSocieties. A new sculpture garden willalso feature exciting new works. Groupsare welcome. Contact Richard or MandyAtkinson-Willes on01264 889889. 32NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2010www.nadfas.org.uk

ROMAN GLASSMAKERSsimple piece taking only 10 minutesinstead of four hours, and was thereforeavailable to a wider audience. TheRomans took advantage of the artisticpossibilities, employing many methodsto decorate the vessels they weremaking. Incredibly, within the next fewhundred years glass blowers developedall the major decorative techniques usedby today's glass artists.One key invention was mould-blowing:glass is blown into a mould of two ormore sections, allowing virtually identicalthin-walled items to be produced overand over again. Many beakers weremade like this, often depicting scenesfrom gladiatorial battles or myths.The techniques used by Mark andDavid provide a valuable insight intoancient working practices, and arehighly regarded by museums andcollectors. Their work has been featuredon TV programmes such as Time Team,Far left: Markdemonstratesglassmaking in the ProjectWorkshops studioLeft: Thesculpture gardenat ProjectWorkshopsfeaturing a pieceby Judy Boytwhose work iscast at ProjectWorkshops'foundryWhat the Romans Did For Usand Meetthe Ancestors, and, of course, films. Theglasses from the aforementionedGladiatorscene are their Almond Knobbeakers, just a fraction of the 100 or sovessels made for the film. They have alsomade items for other Ridley Scott films -Kingdom of Heaven(about the crusades)and the upcoming Robin Hood. Mark says: "Reproducing Romanvessels is both fascinating andexasperating - the methods that workbest are usually the simplest and mostobvious! Although we use moderntechnology in the studio, most of ourglass is made using the same ancient,basic tools like wooden sticks, pincersand shears - they're still the best."In 2005, Mark and David temporarilygave up their propane-fired furnace infavour of an authentic, wood-firedRoman version, as part of a major,continuing archaeological experimentfunded by English Heritage. With theexpansion of Project Workshops theywill move into a new studio, which willallow more space for their populardemonstrations and seminars."We're really looking forward tofiring up the furnace in the newhotshop," says David. "ProjectWorkshops is a fantastic locationfor our work, I can't imagine workinganywhere else - it's marvellous." Mark and David offer glassblowinglessons and group demonstrationsVisit www.romanglassmakers.co.uk orcall 01264 889688for detailswww.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2010 FOSTERING CREATIVITY: PROJECT WORKSHOPSProject Workshops is the brainchild of husband and wife teamRichard and Mandy Atkinson-Willes. It was set up in 1992 nearQuarley, Andover, as a centre dedicated to the visual arts. Witha focus on demonstrations and educational projects, Richardsays he hopes it will become a great destination for membersof the public interested in seeing real craftspeople at work.Richard and Mandy met at art college - Richard trained as asculptor at Central St Martins in London and then went on towork in arts administration. It was this experience that madehim want to create his own arts centre. "I realised that whatartists needed was a place to get on and do their thing in anarts environment." Project Workshops is housed in Edwardian farm buildings soldoff by a farmer and Richard and Mandy have continuallyrefurbished and improved the site. Existing tenants include theRoman Glassmakers, sculptors, stonemasons, a knife maker, afurniture maker and ceramic artists. Richard and Mandy havesince bought more of the farm and are about to unveil the mostexciting development yet: six new workshops, a coveredexhibition space and a new 4,000sq ft sculpture foundry. Thismeans there will be space for up to 20 arts businesses -making it one of the biggest commercial centres for visual artsin the south of England.Central to this scheme is the huge multi-function exhibitionspace. To build it, the old grain store was demolished, but thecouncil wanted to keep the agricultural heritage of the site alive.So a rather unique compromise was reached. The new timberframed barn, with its Dutch gabled roof and modern cedarcladding, high ceilings and fabulous light will be a grain storefrom harvest until February, and for the rest of the year will beused for exhibitions and possibly even weddings. "It's either anextremely smart grain store or a very large gallery, dependingon how you look at it," says Richard. For more information visit www.project-workshop.co.uk orcall 01264 889889