SWAMPSCOTT — The town’s newest business gives “Look to the sea” a whole new meaning.
MiraMar Print Lab, Humphrey Street’s most recent establishment, celebrated its grand opening less than two weeks ago with co-founders Sammia Atoui and Adrian Rodriguez. The lab, in which the name represents the name of their kids Amira and Maddox and translates in Spanish to “Look to the sea,” offers classes, workshops and organized events that introduce residents to four different forms of print-making.
“Printmaking bridges people together,” said Rodriguez, who has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Tufts University, a diploma and 5th Year Certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and a leadership certificate from Harvard University. “It was started by the Chinese around 600 B.C. and it really hasn’t changed much. It’s connected to every way we share information, like when it was used to make World War I and World War II propaganda.”
While Rodirguez completed all his higher education in Boston, Atoui got her BFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, a Masters in Business Administration from Simmons School of Management, and certificates from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.
Before opening their own business, the two were creating art out of a cramped studio in their home. Not only did they dream of a bigger space, they also wanted to share their knowledge of art with the residents of Swampscott, no matter their age, said Atoui.
The new business owners, and husband and wife of 10 years, met while in middle school in upstate New York. After moving to New England for school, Atoui said they never looked back. They moved to Swampscott six years ago and love everything about the seaside community.
“I live here and my kids live here and I wanted to build something that would get me even more involved with the community,” Atoui said. “It’s really been such a positive experience here and especially since we opened our lab.”
Relief printing, silkscreen printing, monoprinting and letterpress printing are the various forms people can try their hand at when they walk into the lab. Rodriguez said they work with a soy-based ink because it’s non-toxic and offers a slightly easier cleanup.
“When you put the matrix on the paper and put it through the press, you see it and just think ‘wow,'” Rodriguez said. “It’s such a magical experience.”
Printmaking is a very collaborative artform, Rodriguez said, and it’s almost better when there is more than one person working on a piece. With classes that help guests make cards and others that allow people to work with photography, fabric and stencils, there is a little something for everyone.
“There are so many different ways you can try printmaking,” said Rodriguez. “So it reduces the stigma of having to be a master at it on day one of trying it.”