I am Marieke Blokland (1980), a passionate art journaler from the Netherlands. I have kept diaries ever since I was able to read and write. As a kid I used to exchange long, decorated letters with many pen pals. In the prehistoric days of the internet (2000 to 2004) I was active in yahoo! groups sending mail-art to creative people all over the world. It was an expensive hobby, as postal costs are high. When I bumped into the website of Teesha Moore in 2003, I learned about art journaling. For me the only difference was that I made art in a sketch book that I got to keep, instead of sending it out into the unknown.
After getting my bachelor degree in design I found out that designing on a computer day after day was not my calling. Though I still am a computer geek, I also have a huge passion for art supplies. I dreamed of having my own creative art and design studio and started working under the name Bloknote in 2004. But with no selling or marketing skills I had zero clients. I needed money and found a parttime job at a local craft store. After a few years I got the amazing opportunity to get an awesome marketing job at the HQ of that same company. In the eight years that followed I learned a lot about the commercial craft business. Also I created a monthly printed crafts magazine, where I was the main creative editor for five years.
When my daughter Mathilde was born in 2008 my mother in law gave us a camcorder. Of course it was meant to record all cutesy firsts of Mathilde. But to be honest, after a while I got pretty bored with recording a 3 month old. I had played with a video camera in art school before and loved making video's. So I started playing with the camcorder and used it to create art video's. And opened my own YouTube channel. I was very much inspired by Suzi Blu's art journaling video's. Although I have not made that many video's and did not have a huge following, my video's were noted within the small online art community. At least they were noted by Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts. When she asked me to be one of the teachers of Life Book 2014 this was the start of my online art career.
Meanwhile my son Silvester was born in 2011. With my life complete with a husband, a boy, a girl, a house and a cat, my old dreams started to nag in the back of my head. The company were I worked became part of a multinational and things started to change. During a reorganization I switched functions from senior marketeer to buyer. I felt unhappy. I felt like I was wasting my gifts. I can't blame the job alone. I also kept myself away from my big dreams. It was time to follow my heart.
In May 2014 I launched my own online mixed media art school called BloknoteAcademy and I have been working from home as a full time online entrepreneur ever since. BloknoteAcademy is my big dream coming true. Also I got my 3rd book 'Art Journaling & Mixed Media' published at a large Dutch publisher. I am growing as an artist and as a person, deeply thankful for everyone who believes in me and allows me to do what I do best; which is teaching women about how to use art and craft supplies. And how to be the proud creators of art. I have made this into my personal mission.
I am convinced that what I do is important work. According to me, people who are able to express themselves through art, are happier and more colorful people. I have seen women transform from depressed, insecure beings to proud and empowered art journalers. It is not about being able to draw. It is about knowing how to use the tools and not be scared to use them. If more people would grab a pencil fearlessly, the world would become a happier place.
*This art reflects the artist's style, but is not the exact piece she will be teaching in Radiant II.