Category: Workshops

Blog tekenen: waar was ik gebleven

Drawing: where was I?

New year, new chances

It has been busy the last couple of months. Not just at work but in my personal life as well. I don’t live in Haarlem anymore. I have a new extra job that gives me more financial security but takes up so much time that I can’t give workshops at the moment. This is a big part in the reason why I haven’t written any blogs lately. Now that it feels that I have time again, I’m ready to write you a new blog every week.


I may not be giving any workshops but I still have some assignments going on. One of them is already finished. I would love to write about what I’ve been drawing but I can’t. I’m waiting on the green light of the ones who gave me the assignment.

In a blog some time ago I wrote that I’m illustrating a book. I’m still working on it. I took a break from drawing it but now with the corona crisis I’ve got more time to draw.

And I get to work on my handlettering! This is drawing letters and texts. It is not the same as calligraphy, the art of fine writing. Handlettering is about creating a pretty image, a great composition, etc., as you would expect from a drawing.

A new job

I just wrote that I’ve found a new job. Since a couple of weeks I work at Coornhert Gymnasium in Gouda. I’m the substitute teacher for the art lessons of a couple of classes.
I think it’s fantastic to work on my own speciality again, have my own classes again. It’s wonderful to see the progress the kids make and build up a connection with my students.

I notice I don’t want to choose between what my heart wants to do (give workshops, etc.) and being an actual teacher. But I did. I chose to work in Gouda. For now I have to say goodbye to giving workshops.
But it gives me a lot of joy to see what the kids are drawing, what they come up with. They can suddenly make huges steps forward and make a friendly chat at the same time.

Missed assignments

It is lovely to be in front of a class again. But this is a reason I ‘lose’ so much time in education that I have to force myself to say no to fun assignments.

Ondine de Hullu asked me to draw for her again. I did this before, as you can see HERE. Ondine, she always has a plan. And with the plan comes a schedule. This works great, because you know exactly when you should be done and how much time you can spend drawing. The downside is that if you don’t have enough time in a week, you don’t have time for her projects. Luckily she found someone else and I hope that this person will give her a just as pretty result.

Blog tekenen: waar was ik gebleven
Workshop Islamic school - busy kids

Workshop at an Islamic school

The arrival

I arrived early at the school. I have never been to an Islamic school before so I wanted to have some time to ask a couple of questions and get used to the idea of teaching toddlers again.

I was a little too early because there was nobody there yet. Luckily after a couple of minutes two women approached me and the school. They let me in and told a little bit about the school.

Before the workshops

I gave three workshops to toddlers. Every time in a different classroom. I would start the first workshop right after the start of the day so I was already there to unpack. The workshop doesn’t use a lot of materials so I was ready in no time. The teacher asked me if I wanted to join the Islamic start of the day in the teachers room. Of course I joined.

All teachers gathered in a big circle in the teachers room. There was a large table in the middle and a pink and black couch to the side. One of the ladies who opened the door for me, sat down at the table and pulled a book towards her. She read a bit from this Koran. The good thing was, it was the Dutch translation so I understood what the text was about. Then a short round of questions and news and then everyone went to their own classroom.

The first group

I stood besides the door with the teacher and gave a hand to all the kids. Kleinkunstig told me not to give a hand to boys because I’m a woman. Turns out, that isn’t the case if the kids aren’t of praying age. Toddlers don’t have to pray yet, so I can give them a hand.

When all the kids sat on their chairs, the teacher and the kids sang their start-of-the-day-song. It sounded beautiful and I wish I could understand what they sang.

After that, I told the kids what we were going to do and we went to work. They did a very very good job at colouring, cutting and glueing. That’s why the results were very good as well!

The second group

The second workshop group was located in the classroom opposite of the first group. I could easilly pick up all the materials and walk to the next room. The kids were all ready for me to begin, so I did. And there was an intern as well so we had some extra helping hands.

Here the kids worked very hard and neat as well. At the end we were in a little bit of a hurry because the kids had to get ready for gymclass.

The break

I had an hour between the second and the last workshop. That was lovely because toddlers want a lot of attention and that askes for a lot more energy than a sixteen year old who can work for themselfs.

Halfway through my break, the rest of the teachers got their break as well. Now I had the chance to talk to a couple of women. I told them how impressed I am about their Islamic school. Mostly because I gave this workshop once before and those kids were running around screaming. I couldn’t work as much there as I have done here on this Islamic school.

After that we talked about birds, bee’s and kids.

The third group

The last group was in the classroom across the hall from the teachers room. This group was a lot more energetic and less organised than the other two. But they worked wonderfull non the less. The kids still made a wonderfull piece of art.

When I left, I got hugs from a few kids.
What a lovely first experience with an Islamic school!

Workshop Islamic school - Koran
Workshop islamic school - couch
Workshop Islamic school - busy kids
light graffiti groep 2

Light graffiti

What is Light graffiti

Before I explain how awesome this workshop was, I’ll explain what light graffiti is.

It’s a form of art, light art and photography. By giving the camera a long shutter speed, the camera takes in more light. If you adjust the shutter speed like that, taking a photo takes multiple seconds so there is enough time to make a drawing with light in the air.

To make sure the drawing comes out nice on the picture, it is necessary to take the pictures in a dark room.

The workshop

I’ve given and written about this workshop multiple times, the wearables. Last thursday I gave this workshop again. This time to 4 vwo at the Alfrink college in Zoetermeer. The nice thing about this age and level of thinking is that they can think well for themselves.

First the kids made a circuit on paper to get into the idea of letting a light burn. Then we all started to build up the bracelet.
Previous times I had only one hour to do the workshop. Then there is just enough or just not enough time to get everything to work nicely.
At the Alfrink college I had two hours times. I used one and a half hours to make the bracelets.


Normally I would tell the kids exactly what they should do to get the bracelet work as fast as possible. But normally I teach kids who aren’t older than fourteen and they usually don’t have vwo level of thinking.

I wanted to use their brain so I let them figure out the last step of the circuit by themselves. Some worked it out perfectly, others needed some guidance. I told them how I would do it but I let them still choose their own path.

Working bracelets

After one and a half hours all the bracelets worked. Then right after I noticed that, one stopped working. And one guy wanted to make his bracelet work even better. The result was that it didn’t work at all, unfortunately.

All the kids joined me in a classroom that could be darkened completely. Everyone joined for a group photo, everybody worked on the light graffiti pieces.

After the group session, a couple of kids wanted to go alone or in small groups to make some more light graffiti. The more they tried, the more creative they became. Unfortunately some bracelets decided it was time to stop working.

A darkened classroom

This was the first time the school made sure there was a classroom that could be darkened and that I had plenty of time left in the workshop to make the light graffiti.

The light graffiti really makes the difference for the workshop and gives the bracelets a purpose. The other times I could teach the kids something new and some kids really made a pretty bracelet. But the workshop gets a lot better if there is time to play around with light graffiti.

The pictures you see are a selection of the pictures we made during the workshop.

light graffiti emma
light graffiti groep 1
light graffiti groep 2
light graffiti heart 1
light graffiti heart 2
light graffiti scribble name
light graffiti smiley
Workshop monotype Bemmel result

Workshop monotype in Bemmel


Last Thursday, on Joeks birthday, you could find me in Bemmel. I’m from Haarlem and my topographic skills are nonexistent. Although it’s getting better thanks to all the workshops I give throughout the country!

Bemmel is located – for those who are as good at knowing places as I am – near Arnhem. Quite the drive from Haarlem. Luckily I didn’t have to start until noon at the school so I didn’t have to get up early.

Before the workshop started

I arrived a few minutes before noon at the school and I was brought to the classroom where I was needed for the workshop. A lady approached me. She was the teacher who was going to join me in the classroom. We started to talk and it turned out that we did the same study. We both know a couple of teachers and a fellow student of hers was a teacher of mine.

It felt good to chat with her because we are like-minded about the art academy. We are both very happy we went there, because it made us a good teacher. But we also have a couple things to say about how things should or could be different.

The workshop

In Bemmel I gave the workshop Monotype. I am expected to make the prints on bags but I don’t like those results that much. I rather give them the choice to work on paper and explain them why I personally prefer printing on paper. A couple of kids chose to print on the bags and made some very pretty prints!

The kids went to work. First they thought of and sketched out a design and then they printed a trial version on regular paper. Some discovered they used to little ink, some found out it was too much.

After the break

The nice thing about this day was that I could work with these kids for two hours with a little break in between. The kids had the time to eat a little and it gave me the oppertunity to organize the workshop a bit better.
There was a clear moment to start with the real deal, the endresult: after the break.

The kids fixed what they figured went wrong in their trial version. Some used more ink, others a little less. Some worked more with colour areas, others made their design a little sharper.

The results

They made very creative pieces of art. All of them on their own level. A guy who found it a difficult technique made a simple design and that worked out well! He could tell me clearly what went better in the trial version and what was better in the endresult. If he had more time, he would have made a perfect monotype.

A girl made a design which was a bit hard in my opinion but it came out better than I could have imagened. Eventually she chose to let it go completely and started experimenting with colours and ink. She made a beautiful background or abstract work.

On the other side of the classroom a girl wondered if she had to print everything at once or if she could print twice on the same place. Obviously she choce to do the last. First she printed the colours, then she printed the lines over that. It had a nice feeling to it and worked realy well.

Two ladies worked on the effect of making ink stains. Both made a pretty and well made result. One of them chose to use extra tools. First a paintbrush but she didn’t like the effect for what she tried to make. When I told her the ink is waterbased, she chose to use a dish cloth.

Next to the text you see a couple of pictures of what they made.

Workshop monotype Bemmel result 1
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop monotype Bemmel Snoopy one
Workshop monotype Bemmel Snoopy two
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop monotype Bemmel result
Workshop wearables belt

Last workshop in Leiden

Workshop Wearables

The last five weeks I gave a series of one workshop in Leiden: wearables. Wearables are wearable technology, like smartwatches, heated vests, headphones, etcetera. I teach the kids the basics: how to make a circuit and how to let a little light light up with this circuit.

Workshop in Leiden

In Leiden I had a small group of seven kids. Together we made a circuit on paper with an LED ligth, a battery and copper tape. Then, with the same ingredients on a piece of felt, we made a bracelet. After that the kids started on their own design.

The speedo

Two guys wanted to make a sort of speedo. I didn’t see the point of having a LED light on your underwear, so they made one to put over your pants.
The speedo is made out of yellow felt, on the front burns a little blue ligth. On the inside, on the butt, is the battery located. They could have put it right next to the ligth but they thought it would be funnier to put it on the butt.

The last day they used their time to decorate their underwear with needle, thread and orange felt. They made a giant penis.

The belts

Two ladies wanted to make a belt. They measured the width and length neatly. It couldn’t be taken out of one piece of felt so they cut off two pieces and sowed them together. Then they started with adding a lot of little LED lights. After they put the circuit and the lights together they found out they both made a mistake somewhere. And they couldn’t get it right. I helped them check multiple times and I could not find the mistake either. The only option there was left was taking it all out and start over with adding the lights.

The one decided to make a belt with a lot of non-working lights. The other decided to make one with two working lights, because it’s easier to find any little mistakes.

The balaclava

Two gentlemen wanted to make a balaclava. I didn’t have any black felt so they made a bright orange one. First they picked up one of their own caps to look how it’s made. Then they measured their heads and drew their balaclava cap on the felt.

They worked together nicely. They switched after they did a little piece of cutting or sowing. They checked together how the light should be attached and where the battery should go. The cap works splendidly!

The diadem

A young lady wanted to make her own diadem. She drew a good sketch of how big it should be, how many lights she wanted and where. She cut off a piece of blue felt and went to work. First she drew where everything had to go: the lights, the battery, the copper tape and the iron wire.
Unfortunately she was sick on the last day and didn’t have the time to finish it.


Multiple pictures were made. Pictures of all the seperate works but a group one as well. That last one I would love to post here but I haven’t recieved it yet. There are multiple pictures of the workshop Wearables on my Instagram, just not all of them from Leiden.

Workshop wearables underpants
Workshop wearables belt
Workshop wearables balaclava
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
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
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - almost done

Het stuur van Tuur

Het stuur van tuur – hydraulic vehicle 

Het stuur van tuur, the steering wheel of Tuur, is a book connected to the week of the children’s book. This week started last wednesday. In the theme of this week – vehicles – I gave a couple of workshops. Het stuur van tuur is a book about a little boy who is picked up from school by his neighbour. Everyday it’s with a different vehicle: a bicycle, with a sleigh…

Grade 3 to 4

The kids in 3rd and 4th grade were going to make their own vehicle. And a very special one! The kids made a hydraulic dragon. I gave them all got the parts that they needed for the dragon and then they started to work. With markers and colouring pencils and coloured paper they got to work. Some groups made a bit of a traditional dragon, green with scales. Others made one in a rainbow theme. Another group made one in pink and purple. 

The dragon

Kleinkunstig send me all the parts I needed. That’s how the kids got to make such beautiful dragons.
With a laser cutter all the parts were cut. Every dragon had one belly, two sides, two heads and two wings.
The head was attached to the side with a split pin. The rest is put together with tape so that the wings can move easily.
As a base Kleinkunstig send me round pieces of styrofoam. With two skewers and two drinking straws you can let the wings rest on this.
The final and most important part is the hydraulic system. For this, I got 200 syringes and a couple of metres of plastic tube. On one syringe I attached a piece of tube, the other syringe I filled with water first before I attached it to the other end of the tube. One of the two syringes I taped to the belly of the dragon and there you go: a flying dragon!

The kids

The kids worked very hard and tried their best to make the most wonderful dragon. Some even made paper people to fly at the back of the dragon. After all, it is a vehicle.
Not only the kids were working hard, the teachers did as well! They were very busy helping their kids and helped to make the most wonderful dragons!
It was a lot of work but that was no problem for the kids. Because who will take the dragon home in the end?! The creativity of the kids continued to surprise me. One decided that all the dragons should stay in school. Another thought of a way to pass it around. A little boy thought: “You can earn the dragon by working extra hard next week in school!”. A drawing of lots was thought of as well.

I hope some of the teachers will send me the end result because not every group got to finish their dragon within the time of the workshop.

Workshop hydraulic vehicle result green dragon
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - working kids
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - almost done
Workshop hydraulic vehicle - end result
Children working on workshop

Action-reaction chain

In Doetinchem was a workshop action-reaction chain on the fourth of september. Me and three co workers from Kleinkunstig and some nice people from a youth centre were hired by the Zone.College in Doetinchem to give this workshop to five classes at the same time. We had a rough start but after that it was an amazing day! Let me tell you how it went:

I arrived at the location that I was told to go to. There was no workshop planned there. The dear reception ladies told me that I might needed to go to a different location and gave me some directions on how to get there. It was one street away so it wasn’t hard. Once I was there it became unclear whether the workshop was given there or at a third location on the other side of the city. I started to get a little stressed by now because I was the coördinator of this day so I didn’t want to arrive too late. At this time some people, who were too old to be students at this school, were standing behind me. We started to talk and they turned out to be the people who were going to help us out from the third location. So they confirmed that the workshop was definitely on this location.

Then there was the next dilemma. We were told to put all our materials in one small classroom but this wasn’t big enough to have the workshop with five classes at the same time. It was even a little too small for a workshop for one class. A lady came to help us: “You can use a classroom that’s not in use at the moment!” But this one wasn’t big enough either. I wanted to use the canteen. Eventually we got there but in the following way: unused classroom, outside (the wind was blowing too hard so it wasn’t possible to do the workshop outside), canteen, gym, canteen.

There I gave a short introduction on what an action-reaction chain is and what we were going to do today. Then the kids started building. It was wonderful to see them busy. The kids were very creative with the materials we had given them and thought of a lot ways to build the chain.

In my instructions I wasn’t clear enough about the fact that we were building one big chain instead of 400 small chains so this took a little extra creativity at the end. Eventually they managed to link almost all the chains together! Some parts of the chain were built a little better that others but all the kids had a ton of fun building it and getting to know each other. And in my opinion, in a first week of a first year of a new school, that’s the most important part.

After the action-reaction chain was done, the kids put everything back in the boxes they found their stuff in and went on to grab some lunch somewhere. And for us the next 5 classes were waiting already!

This round went a lot better. We as teachers knew better what to do and what to say. We knew what went wrong the first time around so we made some small changes: we made 5 workspaces, one for each class. And we decided in what height the groupes could work. So the starting group, group number one, startet at 3 metres high and went down to 2. The second went from 2 to 1.5, all the way to group number 5 from 0.5 to the floor.

This chain went better than the first one and the kids were working together rather than working on their own little piece of chain. At the end all the kids joined around the action-reaction chain and counted down to see it in action. It was beautiful to see how these classes formed a group. Just like the first round, these kids put everything back into the boxes again and then they were allowed to go.

When the canteen was kids free again, we had some time to discuss how the day went. During this time we were busy putting the blocks with the blocks, all the marbles in a bag. Everything was cleaned up nicely so that it would fit easily in my car again. A lot of the materials were modified for the chain so they had become unusable. We could throw a lot of materials away which gave me enough space in the car to give one of my colleagues a lift to Zwolle.

I learned a lot from this workshop day and I’m looking forward to the next!

Children working on workshop
Action-reaction chain working
Action-reaction chain overall
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