BERLIN– The spirit of cooperation will bring two new artists to Berlin this spring.
Local artists Brian Robertson and Caroline Forrester have partnered together to open what will be for each their first non-home studio. The duo has leased two rooms that were formerly used as office space above TaDa in downtown Berlin.
While their crafts are different—Robertson makes prints while Forrester creates jewelry—they believe their styles are complementary enough that both will find success in the space.
“First and foremost it’s an artist’s studio,” Forrester said.
Forrester, CFD Fine Jewelry, and Robertson, the Berlin Printery, were introduced through a mutual friend who knew they were each considering setting up shop outside their homes for the first time. They quickly agreed that leasing space together would enable them to keep costs down as they made their first foray into shop-keeping.
The area above TaDa includes two rooms. While Robertson and Forrester at first thought to each take a room for their wares, they’ve since decided to use one room as a workshop and the other as a showroom. They’ve each got a desk in the workshop while the showroom is gradually being filled with display shelves. The centerpiece of the room at the moment is Robertson’s 100-year-old press.
“They don’t make them anymore,” he said. “If you want a letterpress you’ve got to buy an old one.”
Beyond their own partnership, he and Forrester are also working with another area business to get their own up and running. They’ve been loaned several pieces of furniture from Hunt and Lane in West Ocean City. The pieces, while in use in their showroom, are also for sale.
The sales counter in the showroom, donated by Bunting Realty, is an old flat file cabinet. Robertson and Forrester have topped it with old type drawers that will be used to display her jewelry.
“We’ve had some ideas on how to bring the art forms together,” Forrester said.
Both she and Robertson are eager to share their handiwork with a larger audience. While both have jobs in other fields, they’ve pursued their crafts for years as well. Robertson will be using his century-old letterpress to make posters and postcards. He plans to do some screen printing as well.
“I’m a graphic designer,” he said. “I was looking for more authentic ways to print.”
Forrester, meanwhile, will be working in silver and gold to craft jewelry. Though she used wire to make jewelry in high school and college, she said she knew it was just a matter of time until she moved on to true metal work.
“Metal is the medium I was always meant to work in,” she said. “Everything I make is delicate, ethereal.”
Forrester and Robertson hope to have their workshop and showroom open to the public by mid-March. While they haven’t set hours of operation yet, those interested in more information can look up the Berlin Printery on Facebook.
Both say they’re thrilled with the welcome they’ve already received from their fellow merchants and are pleased to be joining the town’s successful arts scene.
“This is a growing art community and the artists seem to be getting younger,” Robertson said.
“And they’re well supported by the town’s other businesses,” she said.