The Printmaking Studio
Introducing my Printmaking Studio Gravuristan | Gravursitão, that started as an impossible wish in 1997, a forgotten dream in the 2000s, a raging passion in 2017.
In 2019, a few friends sent me a beautiful blue journal from Pakistan, when I was in the worst throes of chemo and cancer crap. The cover said 'actually, I can' . I started filling it in with the cancer horror stories, and then the dreams I had.
One of the dreams really moved me, it was about me in another life as a mother to two very young children, telling them that mama is sick, but not to be scared. And I realised, maybe I have cancer in all my lives and all the other alternative dimensions.
So, I sat down and took a hard look at myself. What is it that defines me in this life? NOT cancer, not that I escaped to another country and found a better life. But the fact that I am a printmaker! I was one in Pakistan and I will be one here, and so, everyday I started to plan the studio in that blue book of 'actually, I can'. I drew the structure, the kind of light I wanted, and what I wanted where. Then I went on a hunt for every single thing I wanted to be in it (the press I had already acquired in 2018).
I got a gazillion books on Printmaking, Intaglio, Lithograpghy, Mezzotint, I started collecting all the tools required, reading up on studio spaces.
All the time I was complaining about cancer on #thechemoemo blogs, I was also dreaming up a storm, to keep fighting ahead.
I never missed a class at EAV, I kept marching on. Even on days, I could not walk, or stand straight- I would still go to the Lithography Studio, where Estevam and Tina would take care of me.
Soon, I joined another super cool University EBA-UFRJ as an audit, so now I was doing printmaking from two arts schools philosophically completely different from each other (EBA and EAV). I am making amazing friends through these experiences. Not, only that, I started meeting wonderful people through whom I bought my studio materials from.
I connected to a wonderful Argentine printmaker, Maria Teresa Stengel working in Rio, from whom I bought my Etching Press. I met Marcio do Vale, when I bought a Mapoteca from him in Laranjeiras. I connected to a wonderful random Daniele from São Paulo, from whom I bought all my mezzotint and engraving tools, and so on. My lithography mentor and teacher Tina Velho, pushed me along more. And slowly, the dream started coming into being.
And, then suddenly I had zero work on my plate, I was making no money AT ALL, I was so scared, I still am. And so, my mother in law (to whom I am now eternally indebted to), decided to invest in this studio. She called in her trusty Val and his son Jonah, and his friend Bruno - who started working on these rough plans I had.
And hence, daily khap shup and ups and down ensued; hysterical references to the drawings, the frantic browsing online and everywhere to match materials - keeping within the budget woes and Voila!
Here, I present you what has been keeping me fighting this manhoos disease and helping me not being scared of the future but actually looking forward to it.