About us

Studio managers

Mila Albrecht and Alberto Gobber have been running the printmaking studio since 2022. They have both been involved in design in print as well as online for over 15 years. Under the name DGA – Design for Changemakers they lead a design agency that works in branding, editorial, illustration and infographics, as well as UI and UX. Since November 2022, they have been teaching several courses (Graphic Design I, II and II, Printed Matter) at the SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences. You can find more information at mila-albrecht.com and gobber.co.

History of the printmaking studio

The Druckgraphik Atelier
A place to work, enjoy art, feel good…

It was in the summer of 1989 when a colleague asked me, while rummaging through a bulky waste dump in a painting and drawing plein air, if I would join her in holding courses for children in painting/drawing/printing and perhaps also VHS (Volkshochschule, translated as »highschool for the people«) printing courses. While others painted somewhere in the landscape, we both had chosen the same location near the landfill that day, because it offered good motifs and we could talk to each other very well. We had already met in the spring during the training in etching techniques with Marion and Wolfgang Kalauka in Karlshorst, which was sponsored by the Berlin District Art Academy. Taking an individual creative (painting) break, we discovered and enjoyed the “antique” objects that others no longer needed: grandma’s carbon copies, kitchen tins, shelves, bentwood chairs… The love for things that breathe a history and are actually still usable – only thrown away in the modernization craze – that are worth preserving. She told of rooms in the district office where she gave children’s circles—the word for recreational activities at the time—and where she had old lithographic printing presses. “You’re a printer, aren’t you? Can’t we put these to use together?” I explained that I work as a typesetter and only learned how to operate simple printing presses in the process and during my training. And in early summer I had bought a big old wooden roller finisher from a junk dealer to print etchings and linocuts in the hallway of my apartment. This was already cracked in the top roll and so only small formats were possible. The following fall, I joined some children’s meetings in the basement of Krausnickstraße in Mitte, and we discussed the remodeling of the company and the print basement. I got a fee contract from the district office. We bought a small metal etching press, rearranged some things in the room, and enjoyed experimenting on the litho presses. Meanwhile, the GDR experimented in democracy, only to eventually abandon itself and join the Federal Republic.

Typesetters were no longer needed at the newspaper, where I worked shortened hours – today they say part-time – every other week Sunday through Friday 3:30-1:40. Part-time work in the GDR was actually only possible for women with children. I had achieved this status because I needed time for painting. Now I fought my way into a job as an offset printer in a three-shift system (full-time) as well as the accompanying training as a printer. The vocational school was located not far from Krausnickstraße. During the long break and after class, when I wasn’t on duty in the print shop, I would go to the printing basement and try out what I had learned in theory on the lithography stones or make etchings. I also learned a few things in the printing workshops opposite at the Weißensee University of Applied Sciences. At first together, and later – because my colleague’s workload increased in her “main job” – I ran Vhs printing courses on my own. Then there was no more fee for the children’s recreation.

I completed the printer’s apprenticeship and my job at the print shop ended. I bought a large heavy etching press for the printing basement. The district office Mitte had to save money again and found out that there was no public use in the rooms of Krausnickstraße 1 except for the Vhs. The Jugendkunstschule Mitte was founded, the Druck-Keller was its first domicile – further rented from the district office. Once again, children’s recreational activities, after-school programs and activities accompanying school lessons took place. The ceramics, dance and painting courses of the Youth Art School were gradually given other rooms, and we added screen-printing technology to the rooms. Meanwhile, I acquired lead hand-setting equipment as well as the necessary honing press, two screw presses and a large as well as a small impact shear, studied art, art education and art therapy at the UdK, among other things. The children said “today we are going to Kellerdruck” and so the publication of the printed books as well as folders got the name Edition keller-druck. The adjacent Oranienburger Strasse had become again what it used to be: a street and tourist mile. Whole busloads would stagger down the steep staircase in the evening looking for liquids or interested in what would be done with these old machines that you could see down through the windows, and watch me. Limited by the basement room height of about 2.10 m – where hardly anything could be hung – I showed and explained the techniques with work from the drawers.

My job as workshop manager for printing for the Youth Art School was not extended any further at the end of 1998. The children – some of whom I had guided weekly for four years in their painting and printmaking activities – were sad. The rooms were also to be given up for financial reasons – the rent was adjusted to the usual pub rent there. Shortly before that, I got my first fee contract for a temporary lectureship for media vocational training at a private academy. With the option of repeating several times a year. This was the reason to look for self-financed commercial studio space and finally to rent it in the front building of Immanuelkirchstraße 33. The rooms required more than a month of build-out by me including the installation of a hanging system for displaying work. With the energetic help of friends and colleagues, the move took place. Even today, some of us get a backache when we remember together the transport of the lead, the cabinets, the paper and the machines. In May 1999 the print studio was happily opened with the first exhibition. Since then, free printing and drawing/painting courses and workshops for children, after-school groups, school classes, young people and adults have been held again, as well as courses sponsored by the Vhs or other institutions. In the beginning, I even brought “my” children from Mitte to Prenzlauer Berg for creative work through Jugend im Museum e.V. as a sponsor. Since 2002, a plein air has also been held on the Darß in spring and autumn. Since then, monthly changing exhibitions of prints with work demonstrations, light picture lectures and recently also readings bring the residents, tourists and art enthusiasts closer to different positions, techniques and very individual working methods of artists from so far half of Europe (insert from February 2017: all of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, North, Central and South America).

Due to the change of ownership with the beginning of renovation and modernization, the printmaking studio moved to its current more spacious rooms in Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Strasse 3 in August 2005 as the successor tenant of the late university professor Christine Perthen. The offers for creative work remained the same.

The universally praised diverse technical working possibilities, good organization, and the stimulation provided by the interesting presentations of prints, among other things, make colleagues and art enthusiasts from all over the world find their way to the quiet residential street parallel to Danziger Straße. The window front and the invitingly opening large door in the front building also entice passers-by in, who discover here a sensual world hitherto unknown to them with the smells and feel of old printing crafts worthy of preservation as well as contemporary art. The visual attraction is the outstandingly printing lithography rubbing press from 1896 and the associated limestone slates, the lead hand set with its beautiful cabinets, the Boston platen for letterpress printing, the letterpress proofing press for also woodcuts and linocuts like material prints as well as the large copperplate printing press with star wheel (since January 2013 another, smaller one) for all possible etching techniques. And if just a shoe broke – in the print studio it is patched up and with an interesting conversation about art, life and the world, even the waiting time at the doctor’s office across the street is made pleasant.

Anyone who has been to the printmaking studio once – for whatever reason – has felt at home and will come again!

Eberhard Hartwig, on 14.05.2009
Painter/graphic artist/lecturer and studio director

P.S. On December 31, 2021, Eberhard Hartwig retires and will take care only of his own art, while handing over the printmaking studio to Mila Albrecht and Alberto Gobber for the continuation of the current workshop, teaching and free work offers as well as for the long-term expansion of the offers.