Niels Goovaerts

Atelier t

Until the pink stuff starts to get too sticky

How long have you been printing?

In 2014, during a weekend workshop at Grafisch Atelier Hilversum. The teacher was a certain Mr. Thomas Gravemaker from Amsterdam. Nice guy, actually.

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

I remember visiting the local printshop, when I was in primary school, back in the 70's. The father of one of my classmates was sitting at this huge and very loud machine, typing our names, that came out in lead lines.

Where did you learn?

First in Hilversum, later at Letterpress Amsterdam, and then I started stalking Thomas wherever he was teaching: in Gent at the Industriemuseum, in Holsted in Denmark where Thomas and Jens held a 5 day workshop, in Antwerp at Letter-Kunde where Thomas and Armina organised a workshop ... I also learned a lot by following the Drukwerk in de Marge site, by reading old books about printing, by trial and error in my workshop and by trying to fully understand the presses I am working on.

Who was your most influential teacher?

Maestro Thomas Gravemaker.

What super power would you like to have?

I would love to wield the Empathy Generator Gunship. To spread love and kindness in enormous quantities. More empathy is needed if we want to save the world. At least until the pink stuff starts to get too sticky.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Both, very different processes for me. Alone is good to dive deep into the struggle. Together is great to get out of my own tunnel vision.

What do you most value in your friends?

Being there.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

When I am doing something completely different.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Since I am in this eternal fight with my weight, I'd prefer to come back as one of the very light ones. Helvetica Leicht, maybe.

What tool do you use more often than any other?

The cicero ruler, it's always there.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz - D. Van Reybrouck, Revolusi - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between The World And Me

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

Not a printer, but I would love to see Jan Tschichold at work.

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

A small collection of lead and wood type. 4 cabinets of lead, with some drawers with toys like lines, futura schmuck and other ornaments. 2 cabinets of wood. Presses: a proofing press, a Korrex Stuttgart (1969), an Asbern RP (1956), an Eickhoff 2BSG. And lots of light.

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

I am perfectly happy with the shop now. Maybe in need for a good solution for drying larger sizes, but I am working on that.

When and where are you the happiest?

The day after the party, sitting and chatting with family and friends, with a cup of coffee.

What is your greatest fear/worry?

Not to be loved. Ah, and cutting of all my fingers with a circular saw.