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Even as a child, it was clear to me that I wouldn't have a chance of getting my A-levels in the GDR without being a member of the FDJ and refusing to attend military service. So I looked for alternatives and planned to start an apprenticeship as a bookbinder in Leipzig in the summer of 1990.

But then the people of Leipzig chanted "We are the people!" at their Monday demonstrations and put an end to the SED dictatorship. This also opened up new opportunities for me: I caught up on my A-levels, studied various subjects for a few semesters, traveled through South America and Tibet and opened up new worlds for myself.

After a serious illness, I ventured a new start in London, applied to the Roehampton Institute to study Calligraphy and Bookbinding and was lucky enough to be accepted despite my poor language skills. During these three years, I gained self-confidence and was able to shake off the constricting experiences of the GDR.

After graduating, it turned out that my friends Anne Wilhelm and Elske Rosenfeld were looking for a livelihood just like me. In Saxony, you could apply for financial support as a "business founder". We drank a lot of coffee, smoked a lot of cigarettes and developed a joint project for which we were granted "start-up money".

Elske would run a gallery, Anne would run a project management agency and I would set up a studio where I would also give courses in calligraphy and bookbinding. My studio was given the name Blue Child. We called the gallery 3st & Töchter, because we thought it was pretty audacious to start from scratch with the three of us.

3st & Daughters - Anne, Elske, Marí in 2000; Photo: Detlev Nachreimer

We moved into a store in the Kunsthofpassage between Alaunstrasse and Görlitzerstraße in Dresden's Neustadt district. As part of the refurbishment, several interconnected courtyards had been thematically designed by artists. We moved into the Courtyard of Metamorphoses for a year, then - with a different concept - into the Courtyard of Light. Elske left and turned her attention to other tasks. Anne moved into the lower store with the Blue Child stationery shop and a range of calligraphy products. On the first floor, I organized exhibitions with the works of domestic and foreign calligraphers and began with the course work.

Hof des Lichts 1996; Foto: Gingko Projektentwicklung

Hof des Lichts 2008; Foto:

After another five years, Anne left to sail around the world and Susanne Schottmann took over the store. The gallery was closed. From October 2006 to February 2018, I had my bookbinding workshop in the upstairs room and used it for smaller course groups. After water damage, the rooms had to be closed for renovation and I moved the workshop to my private rooms. As before, the courses are held in rented rooms. More information about the courses here.

Susanne und Marí im Spreewald; Foto: privat

Gut Frohberg near Meißen; Foto: private

Stadtteilhaus in Dresden; Foto: