Visit to 'Atelier Vink'

Visit to 'Atelier Vink'

Today I went to visit Janneke and Anke the design duo working under the name Atelier VINK. They make handmade lamps and vases from paper pulp. They also offer a number of workshops in their studio.

Anke and Janneke at work

My trip starts early in the morning by train I travel to Haren a small town under the smoke of Groningen. In my search for “mooimakers” people  I’m starting a round of studio visits. I’m looking for artist and designers  who, like me, like to work with natural materials, feel a great connection with nature, this is my first visit. I have a bag full of materials with me and would like to talk to them but also see if we can learn something in terms of materials. 

How to arrive at designs that inspire you and learning from the material you work with. When I enter, I  immediately notice that there are beacons everywhere with paper pulp in all kinds of stages and colors. Over a cup of steaming tea, they tell me about their research into the right composition of paper pulp. It took them two years to arrive at a composition that was also sustainable in use. Some lamps became limp when hung in a humid room, then the material was too coarse. Researching adhesives etc. but one day they succeeded and found the perfect composition.

Two Vree lamps installed in Anke and Jannekes studio

I  pick up one of the lamps and am amazed at its strength. Despite this, the material looks airy sort of fluffy.  Even enough but clearly handmade.They currently have 2 pendant lamps in production 'Vree' a beautiful sphere in 4 sizes and a kind of onion model 'Aai'. The nice thing about studio visits is that you get to look into the kitchen a bit. There are models everywhere that have been rejected but for instant with a beautiful colour (the kind of pink when you dye textiles with avocado seeds) and also searches for new models. I see a kind of barbapapa in all kinds of shapes. Janneke and Anke find it important that their products are made as sustainably as possible.

Collection of lamps in their Studio

They design, feel and make with attention and love. I also see a lot of patience because making beautiful pulp is really quite a job. We find out that we also use the same products but in a completely different way. For instance, we use a kind of glue on a flour base. Where I make a kind of pancake batter and use it raw, they cook the flour into a kind of porridge, which involves a lot of stirring and there you have it again, patience. As we get down to work, I decide to make a mini whale with the glue they made. A very different experience from what I always work with. A fine texture and very nice completely biodegradable so it doesn't matter if I put it in the green waste. We also talk a lot about being visible. How does that work? Where do you put energy.

A small Vree in my home 

Sometimes it pays to save up and invest in really good places to showcase your work. How to put your work in the spotlight.  Not easy to get done and sometimes frustrating when your product is just really good / beautiful. After another cup of tea, I head back home. It's buzzing a bit in my head. Probably most from my own chatter but also from meeting 2 talented women who make very beautiful products. A thought starts to form in my head. As always, I want to shape this immediately but I took something with me today that is the power of patience and maturation (of the paper pulp) ...... so to be continued.  


Dear Anke and Janneke thank you for the beautiful conversations. 

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