Building transformed into a print haven

Master printmaker and artist, Collin Cole transformed a historic church from 1904 into an artistic haven.


A building located in the heart of Melville has stood the test of time and has been personalised by its dwellers for over 100 years. It has now been transformed into an artistic venue, beaming with creativity.

The sitting area inside the studio.

Master printmaker and artist, Collin Cole said last year an opportunity was presented to him to move to a beautiful neglected church in Melville built in 1904. The building has a historic legacy and was used for various purposes.

Collin Cole looks at some of the work created by his students.

“One of my student’s partner, who was the landlord, asked me if I wouldn’t like to see an interesting building and maybe move my studio. It was in a very poor condition but with a lot of hard work and perseverance with the help of the landlord and friends we transformed it into this amazing space,” said Cole.

He explained that when the church was initially built, it was a Methodist Church, which was later transformed into a synagogue for the next 25 years. It was later turned into an architect’s company, then a creche and used as a storeroom for an antique dealer.

“Before the church was renovated it was in a poor condition, abused and neglected for many years. It still had the same structure but the roof was leaking, vagrants had lived in it and set fires there too,” said Cole.

A private where artists are able to express their creativity.

The Westdene resident said he grew up as a creative child who enjoyed painting and drawing. He arrived in Johannesburg in 2000 after having lectured art and printmaking both at Rhodes University and the University of the North West. His expertise in printmaking spans over 20 years and counting. Cole’s passion for the arts has propelled his interest into a career.

He officially opened the Blue Door Print Studio on 25 May and started teaching classes on 19 June.

Printing machines used in the process of etching.

“The central component of etching is drawing and thinking in a creative way,” said Cole.

A basement in the building that was transformed into a mini art gallery.


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Naledi Mokoena

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