Shirt #23 | Meet the maker – Janneke Huijnk

End of last summer we have started the #100greenstatements project, which means the next two years we’ll be upcycling 100 t-shirts into a green statement. So every week we are going to be collaborating with new artists or designers who are creating, repairing, styling their t-shirts. Can’t wait to see what they will make. And of course, we are curious: What is their story?

This week Janneke Huijnk in the spotlight, she is a printmaker of blockprints and screenprints, and she also teaches others to do that!

Can you tell us a little bit about you?

I graduated as a graphic designer, worked as an art director, and then as an illustrator. During this time, I have also had three children and finished my Philosophy Masters at UvA.  

Now I work as a printmaker and teacher. Most recently, teaching drawing and graphic arts (at Crea in Amsterdam) which I love. And Soon I will be teaching at “Printclub” in the Grafisch atelier in Hilversum, which will begin again when COVID restrictions are relaxed. Outside of work, Amsterdam forest is a blessing, I’m going there almost every day with our dog Alphy. 

I love printmaking. Each print is unique, and the natural beauty of handmade work is only improved with the occasional imperfection. Unexpected things happen, and that’s what I enjoy the most. 

How did you start your business?

When I left advertising to study philosophy, I turned to freelance illustration to support myself.

After I finished my masters and my kids were off to school. I had a little more time so I started to screenprint again and discovered the joy of making relief prints. I found those carvings a good base for screenprinting, and so I started printing them on shirts. 

In the beginning, I bought the shirts at the thrift store below the printing studio but as demand for shirts got increased, I sought out sustainable brands and found one I liked: Earth positive. I still order from them but now just white shirts so I can dye them myself using natural pigments, preferable from waste like coffee grounds or vegetable peels.

 My whole design and production process has only got slower over the years but this is the direction I want to follow. I even love the aspect of fading, which many people see as a downside of natural dyeing. I don’t. It’s a natural process. It’s part of life. Nothing is forever. And when you get bored of a particular colour you can simply overdye it, and get a whole new piece of clothing.

What are your dreams?

To live somewhere on a hill where the sun shines on a big garden full of flowers and fruits and vegetables I can dye with, and make my own inks. I’d give workshops in the garden, keep sheep, and kittens. I made a little start with this dream. This year we’re growing Weld and Woad in our garden. Together they make Lincoln green which was popular in the middle ages. It’s the green Robin Hood wore!


Read more?

Check Janneke her profile on FOR KEEPS. Or you can check her Instagram, she regularly shares new projects. And to purchase her prints you can visit her shop on Etsy!

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