Time to put that right. To make up for my tardiness, I'm pleased to announce a Jonna Saarinen double bill; today with a little chat, and next week with a brilliant 'walk though' of Jonna's screen printing process. So, saddle up for part one...
patternbooth: Tell us about your work.
jonna: My work is very colourful, and in the beginning I just wanted to create some bright designs that would make people happy! The whole journey, that has led my work to where is now, has been a real labour of love. The design process for the 'Hundreds & Thousands' collection started whilst I was studying at the Royal College of Art back in 2010 from my childhood memories and summers spent with my gran. It developed through lots of mark making and testing ideas by screen printing. In the end this final collection formed the frame for what became my business. I still today enjoy the screen printing aspect of my work the most, and most of my colour development and design processes actually happen through trial and error whilst screen printing. If my work makes you smile, my mission is accomplished!
patternbooth: You've just been in the guardian, which must have been exciting. How did that happen?
Jonna: I have been working together with Etsy UK since this spring, trying to help bring more focus on new designers and encouraging people to do more craft at home, which included filming the promotional video of 'block printing' tea towels at the Etsy HQ. The Guardian were really excited about the video, and invited me to run some workshops in their space at the Boxpark Shoredicth, which was amazing and that is how the story in the newspaper came to be.
patternbooth: What inspires you?
jonna: I draw inspiration from many every day things, such as the nature that surrounds us and as well as the Finnish folklore with its strange stories, but my main inspiration will always my late grandmother and growing up by the sea in Finland with her. Back then summers used to be endless, the sun was always shining and running in the forest wearing no shoes & swimming with your clothes on was totally normal.
She had a fantastic style of hand knitted cardigans, crazy patterned aprons and woolly socks, which I hope I have also inherited, and she loved picking up twigs in the woods - that definitely runs in our family! It was these long summers that gave me my imagination and love of nature, which is where I get all the colours for my work from. The Hundreds & Thousands collection is a tribute for her, as she truly believed you can never have too much of a good thing or patterns and colours in your life!
jonna: The main challenge is to get everything out of it really, but I don't see having any challenges big enough not to have one.
patternbooth: So what are the joys of working in that type of space?
jonna: It is amazing to be able to work in an environment where you are surrounded by other creative people, creating amazing things! Not one day is the same, and its great to meet new printers too when they come in to use the print facilities!
patternbooth: Will you ever outsource your screen printing?
jonna: I would say highly unlikely, as the business grow I would still like to keep all printing in-house, as it makes the product much more desirable - besides I love screen printing more than anything else!
patternbooth: What's next?
jonna: Business as usual screen printing and working on some new designs for this autumn, and I am currently also involved in a few other new exciting projects that will be published later this year! It has been a super busy summer!
patternbooth: What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Jonna: Network, as you can never have too many contacts, and use the social media for your advantage to get your work out there.