Month: November 2019

wearables in progress

Making wearables

What are wearables

Wearables are something you can wear with electronics in them to make them ‘better’. For instance a smartwatch or shoes with lights in them. There are millions of options. Every kind of electronics is an option: a hat with a sound system in it so that you don’t need a headphones. A smartwatch that read your messages to you. A vest that warms you faster than a regular one. A shirt with lights in them so you’re more visible.

Why do I write about this?

Ik write about wearables because the last couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege to give some workshops where I teach kids to make a wearable. On my social media you can see some pictures of that.

I teach the kids about circuits and how to make an LED light burn. Then I let them make a ‘practice wearable’. At this stage we all make the same thing: a bracelet with a light in it. This gives them the opportunity to practice the knowledge in a slightly different way. Here we can adjust any small mistakes to make the bracelets all work perfectly. Here I can make the kids learn to do everything to make all the circuits work when they don’t.

If everything is done right, then at the end of a workshop everybody has a working bracelet they can make beautiful.

If I really have the time to play:

If I really get time then I love to take it a lot further than just a bracelet. Then I would love to use the creativity of the kids I work with. They think of the most wonderful things, sometimes hard to work out but we always find a way!

I was given this time in Leiden at a school. A school for kids who need a little extra help. I can play around with a class of seven great kids and their teacher. Together we’re on an adventure to discover everything about wearables.

As described above, the kids first made a circuit on paper to get the idea. Then they all made a bracelet, a practice wearable. As soon as this one worked, they moved on to their own design.
If it was going to be big, they had to work together. If it was small enough, they could make their own.

Two ladies are making a belt full of lights. One lady is making a diadem with four lights on top. Two guys are making some sort of a speedo but to wear over your pants instead of underneath. The last two men are making a bright orange balaclava.

How does that go?

All the kids are doing great. They all are building the circuits in their own design. The kids are thinking about where the lights should go, how many and where the copper tape should be placed. And last but not least: where do they want the battery to light it all up.

The underwear guys wanted one light and they already have it working properly. The hat guys also want one light, on the top of their hat. But they first need to sow it all together. The belt ladies are well on their way on the circuit and so is Lady Diadem.

Why is this so much fun?

I find it beautiful to see the kids grow. I can see them understanding how it all works and working more and more on their own. I can see the personalities of the kids in how they work. This is why I became a teacher!

Apart from that, I’m learning a lot about science. I don’t know too much yet and I want to know more to become a better teacher. I think it’s fantastic to figure out how I can use electronics in things I build and draw. Who knows, maybe I can use sound in the future!

Would you like to learn about circuits?

If you would like to learn about building circuits with a group, perhaps a class, contact Kleinkunstig.
If you would love to know more about this, just like me, then leave me a message. This link brings you to the contact form.

wearables in progress
Bright Makers just arrived

Bright Makers on an event

Bright Makers on Bright Day

Bright Makers asked me to work on the Bright Day event, presented by RTL. This is an event about Science and Technologie. I’m not super technical but I do know a couple of things about the workshops that Bright Makers offers.

Hydraulic dragon

On pictures on Instagram and Facebook you can see that I regularly give a workshop where dragons are made by kids. Of course this is not only about building a beautiful dragon. This is also about learning how a hydraulic system works.

It’s wonderful to see the penny drop in the eyes of the kids. They all of a sudden understand how hydraulics work and how this makes their dragon move.

Workshop of Bright Makers

Bright Makers offers more workshops, not just the hydraulic dragon. This company is promoting education where you learn by creating. I like that a lot. I think it is very important for your brain to learn while you play, learn while creating. They see how something works in their hands, like hydraulics. You could explain this with text and images but it sticks a lot faster when the kids can figure things like this out themselves.

The event

Bright Makers had a stand on Bright Day. I was working here with two coworkers. Together we set a couple hundred kids and parents to work. We let them make pretty dragons. Some came mostly to work with a hydraulic system and figure out how that works, others came by to make a wonderful creation. The fact that it is a flying dragon, was a bonus to some.

It was lovely to work my butt off for two days. The most tiring thing was talking over all the sound to explain what the kids needed to do. Around us were a lot of stands and almost all of them had a soundsystem blasting through the room.

Bright Makers just arrived
Bright Makers kids working
Bright Makers stand
Illustration of Miss Marieke at work

Potentional new work

At this moment

Right now I work for Kleinkunstig and the Teach-in Group. At the one I work as a self-employed person, at the other as a regular employee. I also work for clients who come to me. For them I make drawings, illustrations and art. For Kleinkunstig and Teach-in Group I teach people all kinds of things.

Possibly new work

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment in Amsterdam. I was meeting up with a company in an old large school building. In this building I found all kinds of businesses but I was looking for one in particular: the quickly growing Lukida. I had a meeting to see if we want to work together.

Lukida – what is that?

This is a company which tries to do something about the shortage of teachers in elementary schools but in a creative way. They hire self-employed people like me to work as a substitute teacher on different elementary schools. I would teach the kids how to draw so that an actual teacher can teach a different group how to spell. I have no idea how to teach a kid how to write. I do know how to teach a child to create and to draw.

The problem

I would love to work for this company, and they would like to work with me. Here’s the catch: I want to move in with my boyfriend and I want to do that on the other side of the country, in Zwolle. This company has work in and around Amsterdam. Luckily they are growing, the shortage of teachers is a national problem. Soon they will have some work in and around Zwolle. So unfortunately I won’t work with them yet but hopefully they will have enough work in Zwolle soon so I can work with and for them.

Lukida and self-employed people

I already wrote that this company works with self-employed people. I’m a little scared to go full self-employed. I then choose to have no security of finances in my life whatsoever. Now I have a small job which gives me a small steady income. The moment I start to work for Lukida, that certainty of a steady income will be gone. I need to think about that and do some maths. Because if I can’t earn enough with it, I can’t do it.

Also, there’s some extra work involved. I need to do more accountancy stuff. This isn’t a real problem since I finally start to understand how it all works. But it takes up a bit of extra time. For every day I work for this company I’m going to have to write a new invoice. I don’t have to do that with my little job now. I clearly need to think about this.

Illustration of Miss Marieke at work
Illustration of a book

Illustrating a new book

To illustrate

I like to illustrate books. I don’t know the world of illustration very well so I don’t have much illustration jobs for books yet.

The last time an acquaintance pointed me in the direction of a writer in search for an illustrator. This lead to the collaboration between Ondine de Hullu and me.

Facebook message

The same acquaintance shared a facebook post with me. It was a short message in a group. The even shorter version of it is this: I’m looking for an illustrator for my book. It’s a psychology book.


Last wednesday I met with Michael, the writer of the book. We sat down for two hours, chatting. At first to check if we would be able to work together, of course. Second, to get to know each other a little bit and last, but absolutely not the least, to learn more about the project.

It was nice meeting, we had fun. It turns out that we share the same kind of humour, we think quite alike.The most interesting discovery for me was this: his style of writing and my style of drawing are very similar. Not to clean and serious. A little sketchy, maybe even searching.

The assignment

The next day I got a text that he would love to work with me. At that time I was writing down a collaboration contract because I had hoped to get a message like that.

I’m going to draw about 60 illustrations. The book will be designed in a very visual way. It will probably have about 4 or 5 chapters. Each chapter has a couple of pages who all have their own subject. Because of that I can make an illustration for almost all the pages.

The way the book will be designed fits the content of the book very well.

The result

I can’t say a lot about what the book will be about. In a couple of days I will meet with Michael again. Then we’ll talk about what I can shout out to the world and what I need to keep to myself for a while.

In the coming months I will share a few short updates about where we are with the book. And obviously I will share where you can buy the book once it’s finished.

Illustration of a book
Picture at Museum of tin figures

This week

VAT – last week

What a week! It started last week on saturday with my first official VAT tax return. Or like it is actually called: turnover tax return.

I explained already how little I used to know about the accountancy but it is starting to become a little more clear to me. I know where to put unpaid invoices in my online accountancy, I know where to add my receipts, I can import my bank details. But still – especially because I do a lot by myself instead of just importing it all – things go wrong.

So, my accountancy didn’t add up. I didn’t have the same number in my accountancy as in my bank account.

So I checked all the mutations I put in there. I could take out a few double numbers.

Still, it didn’t add up. I checked it all again. This time with my bank account next to me. Everything seemed to be in order but it wasn’t. I had an invoice sent to my mail and I had put it in my accountancy and I payed for it with my business bank account.

But I couldn’t find it in my bank account. I checked it several times. I took a while put in the end the penny dropped. The invoice was in dollars and my bank account shows me euro’s. So I still put a double invoice in my accountancy. One done by me and one imported from my bank account.

Handlettering in Tilburg – this week

Last week I had a calm schedule. I had only one workshop, on wednesday. I was asked to come to Tilburg with all the stuff for the workshop.

Kleinkunstig asked me to go to MBO de Rooi Pannen, department Marketing and Events.

Together with 11 more colleagues we gave all different kinds of workshops which had something to do with languages. Someone taught the kids to rap and another taught them how to act in soap series.

I was doing what I do best: making an image. Handlettering is a form of art somewhere in between writing and drawing. Languages and images. Right up my alley, my style!

The students were – probably because they chose to do a workshop Handlettering – terribly motivated. It was a quiet and large group of students. They didn’t really know each other and that made the group quite quiet. They still made wonderful drawings.

I gave them an assignment that I planned for them. Marketing and Events, those students are trained to plan everything around an event. I let them choose from three themes: Autumn, Winter and Halloween. Then they could choose what they would make: an A-board, a poster or an invitation. The students made beautiful artworks and very creative too! Some of them didn’t come up with a creative idea for an event because handlettering itself was enough of a challenge. These students made wonderful pieces of art as well!

Tinnen figuren museum – this week

On thursday of this week I was invited to have a conversation in Ommen, at the national museum of tin figures. This museum is looking for a little renewal in the education part. And I happen to have a degree in doing just that.

This museum – even though it doesn’t look like it at first sight – does a lot with education. Mostly history about Romans, the dark ages and Napoleon.

I’ve been asked to help this museum and the people who work there to elevate the educational program.

I spoke with two people who work there. There is a considerable age difference between us but we have the same view on art, culture and the development of a child. And the same kind of humor, thankfully!

This will be continued as soon as there is more information on what my work will look like at this museum!

Picture at Museum of tin figures
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