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Artists revive age-old printmaking technique in new studio

By Andrea López-Tomàs - Feb 01,2018 - Last updated at Feb 01,2018

Bayt Al Graphic, a new studio in Jabal Luweibdeh, aims to revive the art of printmaking through an open space where artists and people interested are welcome (Photo by Andrea López-Tomàs)

AMMAN — The old art technique of printmaking has returned to Amman. Bayt Al Graphic, a new studio in Jabal Luweibdeh, aims to revive the art of printmaking through an open space where artists and people interested are welcome. 

“Printmaking is the art of graving something and having it more than one time; printmakers make unlimited editions of each of their pieces,” said Hakim Jamain, the artist in charge of the studio. 

The original printmaking technique consists of engraving metal plates with a lot of dedication and details. Those become the unique patterns created by each printmaker, who will replicate them in several surfaces. 

The work requires a delicate and dedicated process of making the paint fill all the small holes which give “personality” to the piece. After this step, old pressure machines are the ones which will print the pattern of the plate in the paper. 

“It is very difficult to get all this equipment in Jordan, where printmaking is a forgotten way of art,” said Sara Rashdan, a passionate printmaker, during the launch of the studio. 

“Printmaking is one of the oldest ways of art. Many people don’t know that this is how the first Bible was printed. In the past, every information was communicated through printmaking processes: Newspapers, books, posters…,” Rashdan told The Jordan Times. “It is an indispensable form of art, you can’t replace it.”

Bayt Al Graphic intends to be a platform where artists would experiment their talent through old techniques. “Nowadays everything is digital, but this was the original way to create anything and I think that’s something we can’t forget,” noted Jamain. 

“It is one of the most beautiful ways of art that one can create,” said Rashdan who has been Jamain’s disciple since they met when she was a student of fine arts, specialised in printmaking, at the University of Jordan where she graduated in 2009.  

Originally from Amman, Jamain is an experienced printmaker who spent most of his career in Cairo, as a professor at the American University. Jamain has also worked in the Netherlands, Italy and Jordan. 

“This open studio doesn’t aim to be academic, it is a platform for artists to come and create together any artistic technique,” Jamain told The Jordan Times.  

“Open studios like Bayt Al Graphic give you a lot of room to experiment and create,” said Rashan. 

The 31-year-old artist described printmaking as an “ongoing expedition about different techniques” and acknowledged the difficulties of making a living out of it. 

“Especially in Jordan, there’s not enough room for emerging artists to expand,” Sara Rashdan told The Jordan Times. 

Different amateur artists sat around a table, drawing and having tea, during the opening day of Bayt Al Graphic last Wednesday. The ambiance  encouraged participants to create and share each other’s work. 

 

“That’s the charm of printmaking, it really touches everybody’s memory in different ways,” said Rashdan.

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