The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

The evolution of a glass maker

Coryse Borg Sunday, 3 June 2018, 11:00 Last update: about 2 years ago

Mark Warner was born in Malta but raised in the United Kingdom. He returned to live in Malta almost 25 years ago and has been based here since then, working in myriad artistic and creative spheres... now he has written a book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mdina Glass called ‘LEGACY, 50 years of Mdina Glass’. Coryse Borg finds out more about this interesting and gripping account of the history of this glass maker.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

I studied film and television production and I was a writer and director for many years before I stopped for personal reasons. I needed a different lifestyle. I got into marketing and advertising as head of creative and audio visual production at an ad agency (Mdina Glass was one the agency's clients at the time). I've written editorial for newspapers, websites and magazines as well as for screen. I'm also into photography, music, books - when time permits - and, of course, film.

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What inspired you to start writing 'Legacy' and how did you go about it?

I've been working with Mdina Glass in one way or another since 2005 and over time I became intrigued by the company's background and the people that have been there over the years. The more I heard about the past, the more interested I became. I knew there was a story there and everyone connected was keen to share their memories and knowledge with me. With the 50th anniversary on the distant horizon it (the book) was something that seemed perfectly apt.

Give us a short outline of what the book tackles.

It tells the story about the origins of Mdina Glass and tells the story of the company in three ways. Through the human stories of some of the people that have been part of the Mdina Glass story, through some of the key glassware that has been made over the decades (and some more unusual pieces) and through the evolution of the glassmaking facilities. Oh, a little bit of contemporaneous history of Malta at certain times is also included whenever it influenced the story of Mdina Glass directly.

 

How long ago did you embark on this journey and what has it taught you along the way?

Work properly began in earnest back in 2015 - research, interviews, digging through old materials, photo shoots and so on. The research was immense. Sometimes, one person's recollection differed a little from another's, and that would impact on facts further down the line. There was a lot of going back and forth and updating the narrative. At times it really was a case of three steps forward, two steps back. Then we'd get together, look over photos and such like that we had at hand and try to clear things up. At times like this, new things would crop up. 

 

What gave you the most satisfaction?

Getting over the line in time for the planned release date. That was no mean achievement. I'm also very happy with how (I hope) I managed to make this a story about people as much as about glass. 

 

With e-books and the internet so accessible nowadays, in your opinion, is there a future for books printed on paper?

Absolutely. Try smelling an e-book. 

 

'LEGACY, 50 years of Mdina Glass' will be launched on Saturday 16th June 2018 and then available from the Mdina Glass shop at Ta' Qali Crafts Village as from Monday 18th June. It is available for pre-order already on www.mdinaglass.com.mt. This first edition hardback is limited to 500 numbered prints and is made up of 260 pages with nearly 300 images.


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