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The Alchemi Art Story

So you’re curious about the Alchemi Art Story? That’s fantastic, grab a brew, put your feet up and let me share a little…

I’m Mara and I’m the artist behind Alchemi Art

The Alchemi Art story started when I was a child and captivated by the magic of photography. My greatest delight was to get into my fathers’ darkroom which was full of the most amazing things. My fascination with all things photographic continued as I grew and started doing all the adulting that comes along when you get older. It was something that never quite went away even when I was too busy to use my cameras much.

Mara Louvain of Alchemi Art

Then Everything Changed

It was just an ordinary day and I was at work. My mobile rang and it was my mother’s number. That was unusual as she knew not to call me at work unless it was an emergency, so I answered. The conversation was brief, she just needed to hear my voice as the doctors had just told her she had cancer. My world collapsed when I heard those words. What I didn’t know was that they would spark changes I could never imagine.

I’ll spare you the details of the next few years as my mother battled against the cancer which eventually took her from me. What I will tell you though was to help me cope I turned to my cameras. They became my therapist and creative outlet, a way to cope when I needed to be strong for her. After I lost my mother I took some time to grieve and really decide what I wanted to do. My answer? I had always wanted to be a photographer or an artist but life and circumstance had pushed me in different directions. Time to change that!

I went back to university where I studied for a Master of Arts Degree in Photography and left my old job behind me. Rekindled my passion for the old 19th Century Photographic processes, working in the darkroom and other forms of art that brought a touch of magic into my life. I graduated in 2016 and set up as an artist and photographer in 2017. Now here I am running my own studio, Alchemi Art.

Meet the Alchemi Art Team

People flourish when they have a supportive team around them and I’m no different. So let me introduce you to the Alchemi Art ‘team’. We have Pebbles my amazing Springer Spaniel dog (aka ‘Madame da Woof’). She’s a really old lady now, over 17 years old which is even more in doggy years. Her superpower is she’s an expert listener to my crazy ideas and has a way of convincing me I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. It’s all in her loving gaze.

Then we have Salem the cat (aka ‘His Lordship’), self-appointed studio supervisor from the warmest sleeping spot he can find. He’s also a really old gentleman and while Pebbles loves to build up my confidence, Salem sees it as his mission in life to keep me humble. You know, in the ways only a cat can!

Last, but certainly not least, is my husband Ian, (‘Master of Moral Support, Packer of Boxes and Vans’), my biggest cheerleader who makes me want to strive for the stars. Wow, that got all soppy, didn’t it? As I said everyone needs a supportive team and I’m very blessed with mine.

Mara and Pebbles

What’s all this Alchemi bit?

As you’ve probably guessed by now I might just have a weeny bit of an, ahem, obsession with photography. Especially old chemicals which have always felt like some form of sorcery. The magi or magician takes some paper and chemicals then uses skills (plus some weird apparatus) to make images in a photographic darkroom. So I decided to incorporate ‘Alchemi’ for my art and photography studio as a reminder to always treasure that sense of wonder and magic.

Where does this magic happen

I’m based out of my own studio in the northeast of England on the beautiful Durham Heritage Coast. Fortunately for me, I only share my studio with Pebbles the dog and Salem the cat.  This means I can play whatever music I like whilst working, (although I frequently lose my comfy chair in the office).