A short biography and how did carte-blanche start?




My name is Marjolein and I grew up in Holland. I left for Cape Town the morning after I finished school. I completed a 3 year full time Diploma Fine Art course at Michaelis School of Art. Subsequently I taught pre-primary classes at both a private and modest Model C school for 24 years.

This included teaching wood-work(moving toys) with machinery to adults and in a township as well as art and crafts as an extramural activity to the lower primary school classes.
I studied a lot while teaching; part-time at both UCT and Unisa (B.Ed. and Hon. Psych and Masters in Ed.) This has given me an overview of a variety of subjects.

Since 2001 I have been self-employed as a yoga instructor with my own home studio. It was in July 2012 that one of my regular private clients gave up her morning slot after an early morning group class after 10 years. I decided to keep that morning free and use it for my own ends. I had always wanted to write a children’s story and perhaps illustrate it, having seen the impact an inspiring story has on children first hand. My story was to be about a lemon tree that stood. I experimented and ended up with a colour-pencil drawing of a laden branch of lemons from my winter garden.
However it felt too ambitious for the time at my disposal and so it became a card, a blank-lemon-branch card typical of our Cape winter. Encouraged by the lovely feel of having some artistic time for myself, I ventured to draw some flowers, the last winter flowers in the garden and this became my second card.

What I enjoyed best, was the inner dialogue this drawing activity provided, a heightened sense of aliveness and focus during the 4 to 7 hours the process lasted.
What possessed me to have the cards printed is probably owing to the fact that the last Christmas card I made the previous year had been printed, saving me to have to do it many times over.

Almost 2 years later “designer” note-books and the use of locally sourced recycled paper and board have grown out of this first venture of by now almost 20 cards as well as a website. Sustainable practice such as the use of recycled paper and board, the use of local material, such as shweshwe fabrics have become a major focus besides the initial artistic approach. It is at the same time a core yoga concept, to serve the earth and mankind’s needs from a more inclusive perspective rather than strive for profit only.

A variety of local businesses produce the products according to my design and instruction.

I spent a lot of time last year creating the products for a specific market which in the end was cancelled. This gave me, unexpectedly, 2 weeks holiday in which I finally honoured my intention “to write the story of the lemon tree that stood and illustrate it”.
So I have come full circle and hope to be able to address an inner need to create new original and sustainable products for carte-blanche using our local industry.
Having facilitated other people’s artistic potentiality for most of my life I seem to be drawn to find ways of exploring my own in new ways. It is a different, exciting journey and possible because of the solid yoga practice and business that is the foundation of my present life situation. For me it is a natural extension of core yoga concepts such as a growing awareness of how we impact on each other and our environment.

Here are some interesting articles:

Frequently Asked Questions

Shweshwe Material

Fair Trade and Sustainable Practice in Business

Two Abstract Designed Cards

Clowns, why clowns and clown birthday cards?

To have a card upon one’s sleeve