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Meet the Maker: Evelien van de Laar

We’re thrilled to introduce you to a new maker this month! Meet Netherlands-based print maker and art teacher Evelien van de Laar.

We got chatting to Evelien about all things print-making, including where to find inspiration and tips for those dipping their toes into lino-cutting for the first time.

How did you get into your craft?

I made my first linocut in high school, but I didn’t know much about how it worked so I wasn’t that interested. During my studies (I studied Teacher Fine Arts and Design) we had a course where we discovered multiple types of graphic art, including linocuts. This really sparked my interest. It however took me two more years until I fully got into it, when I decided to make a series of linocuts for my graduation artwork.

Since graduating, I’ve been keeping myself busy exploring the medium and made a lot of progress. I’ve really fallen in love with making linocuts, it feels amazing to make little art pieces by hand.

Now, I get to combine printmaking with my job as an art teacher and teach my students all kinds of art mediums, including linocut printing.

 

Can you tell us how your first project went?

My first attempts at making linocuts were fairly simple and when I look at them now, I can clearly see I didn’t use any type of technique. I just carved without thinking too much about it. From there, I started to explore different kinds of materials like ink, paper, rollers, etc.

My first real project was my graduation artwork. I went from making small linocuts to a triptych of A3 sized linocuts. It was a real challenge to go this big, but it definitely paid off. The triptych used all kinds of symbolic flowers and animals and told a story about me and the difficulties of life. I’m still very proud of this piece.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from all kinds of places. Nature is a big one, I use a lot of animals, plants and flowers in my designs. I love looking up the meaning behind each flower, so I can use it in a symbolic way.

Tattoo art is also a big inspiration for me, they are often also symbolic and I guess the designs remind me of my own art. People often make a connection between my linocuts and tattoo designs.

There are also loads of great artists I follow on Instagram, they inspire me so much and it’s a great community to be in.

What do you love most about the process?

Thinking and drawing up new designs is always exciting. But the carving process is the part I love the most. It almost feels like meditation, the way you slowly have to carve out each line by hand. 

It’s a slow process, which is very relaxing. Until you make a mistake and have to start all over again of course…

What would be your best advice for those starting out?

Don’t give up when it seems difficult. Printmaking really is a process of trial and error and I’ve made so many errors, but always learned from it.

There are so many materials, tools and paper you can choose from, there’s always something that works for you. Maybe invest in a couple of good carving tools to get you started.

What’s next for you, any upcoming projects you’re working on?

I don’t have anything specific planned. I have loads of unfinished sketches I need to work on. Usually, I don’t plan ahead too much, but I always have some ideas in my head. However, I do feel I have too little time sometimes.

So, what do I have planned for the future? Make more free time to work on my designs. It’s hard sometimes, since I have to combine making linocuts with my day-job as an art teacher!

 

We want to say a huge thank you to Evelien van de Laar for joining us as this month’s Maker in our Meet the Maker series!

If you’d like to keep up with Evelien’s linocut printing and artistic journey, you can follow her on Instagram and find some of her original prints on Etsy.

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