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Katariina Käik (Katariina Lane) awakened to its new life in the summer of 1995. On this short street, named for the Katariina church which borders one side of it, there are various open studios which function as everyday workrooms for the artists. Connecting Vene and Müürivahe streets, the buildings form a unique medieval ensemble and as such have affected both the layout of the studios as well as the organization of work. Uniting the artists is Katariina Guild, unique in the annals of historical guilds and masters. Thus is Katariina Guild a symbolic bridge between the past and the present, integrating eight studios and fourteen women artists. As is customary in the guild system, here also one finds both master crafters as well as apprentices and students.
The founding of Katariina Guild was quite special in and for its time. Prior to the opening on 21 September 1995, we all participated in deliberations that were both inspring as well as captivatingly unfying. We considered at length both individual and collective relationships and possibilities, collaboratively arriving at a workable organization that, even in the midst of a constantly changing environment, functions well to this day. The atypicality of our situation is what charms both those who wander through our studios as well as ourselves. Immediacy, the authenticity of creativity, and dedication inform all that we do and all that we create. These attributes are as valued in the present day as they have been in the past. It is gratifying that we have been able to bond into a large family and have even been able to inspire others. Among these others are the Antonius Guild in Tartu and later the Bonifacius Guild in Viljandi. Within a stone’s throw of us is the Masters’ Courtyard, where one also finds crafters’ studios as well as handicraft shops.
Katariina Guild is active in affairs of culture and art; along with the creative process, we are also involved in teaching and with gallery exhibitions. Though each studio has its own character, all are united in the principle of openness. One can enjoy our unique art not only in a gallery context but also in witnessing the everyday processes of creation. This street, that is known as the loveliest of the Old Town, has become a favorite for both tourists and residents. People return again and again to enjoy the measured and deliberate pace remote from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.