From idea to cliché
Wim helps you print a bookmark and knows all about letterpress printing, clichés and linocuts
Anyone entering the Printing Office of Museum Joure will see an invitation to print a bookmark yourself. Anyone can do this independently, but it is more convenient and fun when Wim lends a helping hand.
How did you join Museum Joure?
'I was once visiting the museum and in the process also came into the print shop. I got into a fascinating conversation with Gerard de Lange, who was an all-round typesetter and more or less in charge of the print shop. We kept in touch, very nice. And that's how you roll into volunteer work. I usually help visitors print a bookmark. I explain how the 170-year-old machine works and tell about typesetting and printing. With groups of kids, it's often a lot of fun. As strict as I had to be as a teacher at school, I fortunately don't have to be now; there is supervision.'
An Amsterdam Frisian
'My parents were originally Frisians. They, like many other Frisians at the time, ended up in Amsterdam. So that's where I was born and largely raised. We did have relatives in Friesland.
When the "hunger winter" (1944-1945, ed.) began in Amsterdam, my mother arranged for me to take a Red Cross ship to Lemmer, where an aunt took me in. As a 10-year-old, I was quite malnourished. After the liberation, of course, I went back home and back to elementary school: the "Smallepadschool" on the Zoutkeetsgracht.
From perspective artist at Fokker to designer and offset printer at Flach in Sneek
After working for a while as a perspective artist at Fokker aircraft factory, I ended up at the I.V.K.N.O (Institute for Arts and Crafts Education) on Gabriel Metsustraat, where I studied Illustration and Graphic Design. Meanwhile, in Amsterdam, I had met a nice Frisian girl who worked at a dentist in the 2nd Constantijn Huygenstraat. Due to family circumstances she went back to Friesland, I was in military service at the time.
After my military service, I applied to several printing and advertising agencies, preferring companies in Friesland. It eventually became Offsetdrukkerij Flach in Sneek, which had shortly before switched from lithography to offset printing. There I had the opportunity to design several packaging, some posters and also labels. Through the Graphic Society I was also able to obtain a diploma in lithography and, together with an enthusiastic colleague, the lower diploma in drawing (just for fun) at the Leiden Educational Institutes. Writing, in other words.
'Because of this 3rd degree, one day I was asked to take over the job of a departing drawing teacher at a Mulo in Sneek. I was willing to try that. That was possible because in the business world the free Saturday was introduced. Schools still taught in the mornings. Later I was asked by many more schools; I started working half a week at Flach (by mutual agreement) and half a week at school. For seven years I enjoyed working for Family Printing Company Flach where fine professionals were colleagues.
Meanwhile, we were able to rent a small house on Nijesyl and, after seven years of courtship, we finally got married. Pretty soon we had our daughter there and we enjoyed living there with some very good neighbors. After four and a half years we moved to a somewhat larger rental house in Oosthem and I was asked to go to Bogerman College in Sneek, under the condition of additional study for 2nd grade. After about four and a half years we moved to Sneek. Especially my wife did not like that very much. After another four and a half years we were able to buy a house in Ysbrechtum. By we have lived with great pleasure since 1972.
Making a print with a linocut? Wim tells you how
'Everything starts with an idea. Making little scribbles helps. You determine different proportions and that's how a drawing emerges. If you want to make a print of that in relief printing, also called letterpress printing, you have to have a cliché. If that's not possible, because of cost for example, we make a linocut. Everything from the drawing that is white, once the drawing is transferred to the lino in mirror image, is carefully cut away with a small gouge. In the museum I am probably the only one who can make a linocut.'
Favorite place in the museum
'The little cabinet where lithographic stones are. There I particularly like to tell about Alois Senefelder and lithography.'
What many people don't know about me....
'I am a visual artist. I paint, draw and lately I've been making objects out of Plexiglas. That glass is delivered to me in large sheets on a pallet. With hot air I bring the sheets into shape and I can process them. At home I have some objects, like the bird in the picture, and I exhibited a while ago in the gallery in Oosthem. In 2021 I may even exhibit in Museum Joure.
Sometimes I sell something. I always tell the buyer, "Hang it up for a month. If it starts to get boring, bring it back. But if you continue to enjoy it, keep it." I don't want people to regret their purchase.
Interview and text: Willeke ten Noever Bakker