This week we are off to Breda in the Netherlands to meet Marieke Blokland who is an independent mixed media artist.
Marieke declares that she never wants to leave the fun, challenging creative industry of hobbycrafts but what makes her so sure?
These posts have taken on a little format of their own with an obligatory introduction however, breaking with tradition, this week I am going to let Marieke introduce herself.
Please can you provide a brief introduction to yourself, where in the world you are and let everyone know what you currently do in the arts/crafts industry.
Nice to meet you! I am Marieke Blokland from Breda, the Netherlands.
I work as an independent mixed media artist, crafter, designer and marketing specialist under the name of Bloknote (Blocnote means notepad in Dutch, but I changed the c into a k so that it matches my last name Blokland). To me a blocnote (notepad) stands for creativity and for quickly making idea’s visual.
Creative hobbies are my speciality. Art journaling and mixed media is my passion. I have an online mixed media school called BloknoteAcademy.com in which I sell mixed media workshops online.
This year I was one of the teachers of Tamara Laporte’s (willowing.org) Life Book 2014, that was joined by over 2600 mixed media art enthusiasts world wide.
Also I work as an independent creative hobbies professional to assist companies with a creative target audience with their marketing. Some of my current clients are Colourstock.com and Jaarbeurs KreaDoe. KreaDoe is the largest consumer fair of creative hobby goods in the Netherlands.
When did you begin working in the creative industry and what was the seminal or defining moment that put you on that path?
I graduated as a graphic designer in 2003. It was hard to find a job as a graphic designer.
I was interested in making illustrations and art by hand, as I did not want to use a computer the entire day and dreamed of being an independent artist. However, I needed money. So I found a job at a craft store in my home town.
When I applied I thought it would only be for a few months. I stayed two years. I loved working in that craft store. Crafty people are the best audience I could ever wish for. They are fun loving, kind and enthusiastic.
The craft store called Pipoos belonged to a larger retail organization called Popov B.V. After two years I could move to another position inside the organization and started working in the marketing department. In the eight years that followed I have learned all about the creative industry. I know who are the big players, I know all major brands, how trends develop in the hobby world.
Three years ago Pipoos was acquired by the Swedish company Panduro Hobby and I learned even more.
During my eight years at the HQ I visited fairs like SMAC in Paris and Paperworld and Creative world in Frankfurt.
I co-created a dutch hobby magazine with an edition of 10,000 per month, of which I was the main editor and stylist. I created numerous mood boards and hobby trend reports. And with every new step I took I knew I never wanted to leave this fun, challenging creative industry.
Is what you do now what you imagined you would be doing when you first started out?
No, I could never have thought that I know would sell workshops online!
But it is a big dream coming true.
Thinking back through the years, what memorable responses have you had to your work?
In 2007 I got the chance to write and publish my first book. It was a book about doodling for scrapbookers and card makers. The day it came out I was asked by bruynzeel-sakura to give doodle-demonstrations at a consumer fair.
People started asking me to sign their copy of my book. That day I signed over 100 books.
That day was so overwhelming, I felt so loved, I will never forget it.
How have you changed during your career and do you see room for more changes in the coming years?
When I was 25 I was very insecure about myself and my art. I turn 34 this september and I am not that insecure girl anymore.
My busy marketing jobs have turned me into a secure woman who loves what she does. I can now sincerely enjoy looking at my own art and craft work and feel happy and confident about it.
Room for more changes? I think that the focus in the future is not so much about changing myself, but changing others: teach others how to feel more confident about their own art and craft projects.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I feel most happy when I am drawing and painting. Of course I spend most of my days behind the computer doing marketing and networking. But fortunately I love that aspect of my job aswell!
Who/What inspires you the most?
Inspiration is not the problem. I find inspiration in everything around me. The big challenge today I think is to be in a place where you are not overwhelmed by all today’s inspiration sources.
Websites like Pinterest do not really help, you easily stick on them searching for more and more inspiration ending up doing nothing at all.
How would you describe a creative life? Fun, challenging, rewarding … etc?
I don’t want to sound depressing, but I think that it is not easy to be creative. Being creative means I am very sensitive too.
My mind is like this huge Pinterest board on which I am always pinning, pinning, pinning. 24/7. And there is no way to shut it down. The more busy I am, the more chaotic my mind gets.
So challenging is a good word to describe it, yes. But I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, as I would not want anything else.
I love my creative life!
What would be your dream project?
I dream of having my own line of crafting products one day. I also would love to write and illustrate a children’s book. And I would love to see my art licensed.
Big dreams for the future!
What wouldn’t you do without?
I need paper in my life. And a pencil.
With paper and a pencil in my hand I can feel perfectly happy
What are you working on at the moment?
My online workshop called the Amélie Project at http://www.bloknoteacademy.com.
I am also going through the final corrections of the book Art Journaling & Mixed Media that will come out in the Netherlands in October through Kosmos Publishers.
What future project(s) are you most looking forward to?
At my website http://www.bloknoteacademy.com I am going to give an online workshop called 31 days of lettering. It will run in december of 2014.
It will be a sort of ‘December Daily’ in which you will learn a different creative lettering technique each day through a short video that you can download.
The course will be for mixed media artist, art journalers, card makers, scrapbookers, project lifers.
Every creative person who loves pretty hand lettering and wants to learn more about it.
I am super looking forward to hosting this e-course and meeting like minded people in the special closed Facebook group.
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What hobbies (creative or non-creative) do you have?
I love cooking, geocaching, photography, reading, writing and watching stop motion animations.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
People who know me from my art journaling and mixed media often don’t know that I actually love scrapbooking a lot aswell.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Don’t talk negative about your art and craft work. The joy of making something is more important that the result.
Where else can we find you? (Blog, website, twitter, facebook etc)
Well! What a very talented and creative lady!
It was nice to read of Marieke’s transformation from insecure girl to confident woman wasn’t it? I also think that we can all relate to the Pinterest addiction aswell, Lol!
I must say that I am also now a big fan of Marieke’s style and hope that I can learn some of the techniques in the future.
Many thanks got to Marieke for taking part in the blog post series and I hope that you have enjoyed hearing from her as much as I have.
Ok fellow country hoppers it’s time to pack up and head home – I wonder where we will head next time?
Thank you for reading – if you’ve any comments about this post, please feel free to pop them in the comments box below.
See you next time!