Meet the Maker – Jonna Saarinen
Hello fellow printers – I’m Jonna, a Finnish screenprinter & textile designer based in South London. I love colourful, bright textiles and design that makes me smile – I am the happiest when I am screen printing at my studio, at work at the Royal College of Art where I run the textile screen printing facilities or traveling in our little baby blue VW camper van!
Describe your process.
I always start my project by researching, sketching and doing paper cuttings, often in black and white, which I then transfer on to screen to bring them to life. I always find my colour palettes by playing around with screen printing, as I love the suprising elements of overlapping and layering.
How and where did you learn to print?
I learned first by myself with a Speedball starter kit, which inspired me to go and study first BA textiles at Central St Martins and I was lucky enough to have have chance to do Masters degree in Printed Textiles at Royal College of Art.
It was love at first pull, hehe!
Where do you work?
I have a studio at Bainbridge Studios in West Norwood, south London, where I have a 4 metre fabric printing table that I share with my fellow textile print designer Kangan Arora. I also work as a specialist technical instructor for printed textiles at the Royal College of Art and design for other brands.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
I like to start super early, as I am always really happy and the most creative in the mornings. I normally start by screen printing and whilst I am waiting for layers of ink to dry, I work on other things either on my computer or by hand. I love our studio, as we have a very good team spirit and some amazing artist, print makers and designers I am lucky in enough to share the space with.
How long have you been printmaking?
I got my first screen back in 2005 ( I still have it and it is my lucky screen!) and did the first prints on my bedroom floor.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the Nordic nature, times gone by, colour and all things nostalgic. Nostalgia is a main thriving force behind most of my work.
What is your favourite printmaking product?
I am huge fan of the Permaset and Permatone inks. The quality and durability are just unbeatable.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
I was invited to screen print to for Queen Elizabeth II as part of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee in Bromley town centre, that was a very different and amazing day indeed! I was super nervous, but day turned out to be fantastic despite the rain and us being outside – I screen printed hundreds of bags and t-shirts in collaboration with Offset Warehouse and Permaset inks, that were given out to the public after the Queen left.
Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?
I sell my work online through my website and also through design shops, like Royal Festival Hall shop and smaller boutiques around UK.
What will we be seeing from you next?
My next step will be taking part in London Design Festival in September, I will be exhibiting at Design Junction with my close friends Thorsten van Elten and Emma Wood Design. My new collection will be out later this year for the Christmas market.
Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?
Do something you enjoy and what makes you smile. It is not an easy journey, but you get to meet so many amazing creatives on your journey and have experiences you will never forget!