A visit from friendly faces

A visit from friendly faces

Will had a lovely surprise the other afternoon when round the door of the workshop popped the head of a glassblower he remembered from years gone by!

Mark Locock and his wife Tamara decided to stop in on their way down to the coast, and share news from their glassblowing workshop in the Netherlands.

In fact, Will was so pleased to see the couple that he even switched off the furnace and downed tools.

As the pool of glassblowers grows ever smaller, it’s lovely to reconnect with others in the trade and share ideas and stories of the craft around the globe. Tips of the trade from the horse’s mouths are always worth more than anything else. It was interesting for Will to realise that glassblowers all share the same problems and worries – energy and commodity prices were high on the list, but also the difficulties facing anyone coming into this world as a career. Both Mark and Will have had to build and maintain their own equipment – recycling and repurposing tools and materials as they see fit – skills that are hard to learn and even harder to teach - but essential to survival for a glassblower

Recently Will attended the funeral of Ed Burke, a glassblower everyone respected hugely. After such a sad occasion it’s nice to see friendly faces from the past.

Mark and Tam were excited to tell Will about their workshop in the idyllic forest setting of Ootmarsum – far more rural than the Langport setting for Shakspeare HQ!

Mark moved to the Netherlands years ago and since 2015 him and Tam have been glassblowing right next to a former monastery with their two colleagues.

Tam said while Mark makes all the “big stuff”, she makes all the smaller items.

The couple work together in their studio where they exhibit colourful bowls & vases, lamps, and their well-known Siepellichtjes, flowers, paperweights, and drinks glasses Since 2019 Noelle Spit & Candida van Nugteren have also been working in their Artshop where they supplement the store with beautiful glass tiles, and other items. They describe it as a melting pot of creativity.

 Will gave the couple a tour of the Langport gallery and workshop, and they were excited to see his space, see how his repurposes all his tools – much like Mark – and how his new creations are shaping up.

Perhaps one day he’ll be popping his head around the door of their workshop too!

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