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Studio Snippets #1

Exciting studio news, a plan for the year to come and 365 cats progress

Exciting news! A studio press.

After thinking about it since graduating from my MA, I took the plunge and invested in a studio press. It’s an HS 35 Intaglio Press made by a local company called Polymetaal in Leiden. I found out about this company in the most kismet way when I was still studying for my MA in Cambridge. Whilst having a conversation in the print room with my mentor and pal John Williams (the printmaking technician and CBI lecturer) and Hannah Webb (lecturer for the BA illustration), Hannah recommended Polymetaal. When I found out they were not only based in my home country The Netherlands but that they were located in the town that I grew up in and would move back to, I couldn’t believe this stroke of serendipity.

Polymetaal in Leiden source

Polymetaal has been making printmaking equipment for nearly 45 years. Visiting their factory is amazing, you can smell the metal and hear the machinery before you even walk in the door. I have been buying my Cranfield inks and other printmaking equipment from them since, but this year after much debate I invested in a press. The HS 35 is a table top press and only weighs 35 kilos, I can print up to A3 on it. It is the third smallest press they sell. To put it in perspective, my press is a dainty little thing compared to the big boys they produce, their biggest weighing approximately a whopping 1600 kilos.

The HS 35 in my studio

If you’re a print geek like me and/or are based in the Netherlands I highly recommend checking out their website, you can do so in Dutch and in English. You can visit the factory by appointment and if you’re lucky, Ben, who is the friendliest guy I have ever met, will give you a short tour.

Monoprint Cat

A plan for the year to come

Material testing

Remember when I wrote in my last blog about buying art supplies and then not really using them? I’ve decided to give all my materials equal amounts of love by testing them here on the blog and on substack. The current pile of neglected materials are:

  • Pan Pastels and tools

  • Shinhan pass hybrid watercolour gouache

  • Loads of coloured pencils

  • Pastel pencils

  • Holbein gouache paints

  • A Daniel Smith watercolour set

  • Unison pastels

  • Holbein acrylic gouache

  • Neocolour I (the non water soluble ones)

  • Drawing inks

  • Inktense blocks

  • Several dip pens and nibs

  • Brushes

I have used these materials, but they are not (yet) a solid part of my practice yet and by experimenting with them here I hope to incorporate them into more my routine. Let’s hope this is not a gateway to buying even more materials for the sake of testing them (I foresee problems). The Pan pastels are on the top of my list, I did really enjoy using and them when I was working on my Folktale week illustrations. In the next blog I will show you what you can do with just three basic colours like red, blue and yellow as they are quite pricey.

You are so welcome to join me and explore materials together, but if you are looking for in-depth videos, I have a list of my favourite Patreon Material Queens below (I know I mention these gals in almost every blog but I will never stop fan girling about them).

Merry Experimenting - Different Techniques There are other things I would like to experiment with here as well. I have been reading on how important play is for creativity, so I want to start exploring other techniques I love, like clay sculpting, paper maché, zine making, embroidery and bookbinding, and see how I can implement these techniques into my practice. Once a month I will allow myself to dive deep into a topic that interests me, like yokai (beings and creatures from Japanese folklore), mushrooms, mythology or even the Black Plague and make a drawing/zine/… about it. I used to make little zine’s all the time but haven’t as much in recent years. You can see a few of them here and here.

Kappa yokai - Source

365 Cats - Progress

In my last blog I wrote that in order to help me stick to a daily creative practice I was going to draw lots and lots of cats. 365 in fact. This daily practice has been a lot of fun and a good way to keep my illustration muscles warm. I’ve added a few in the slide show below.

Thanks for being here, hope to see you in the next one.

x Maris


The Queens of Material Chat Frances Ives

Things I’ve been loving:

Notes on an Island - Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä

A lovely short book about an absolute badass artist couple building a cabin on a remote island with harsh weather conditions. Read an in-depth review here.

The story of Art without Men - by Katy Hessel

I’ve only read a few chapter of this beautiful book but I can tell I will absolutely love it. Katy’s instagram is also a huge resource of inspiration on women artist, you can sign up for her epic newsletter here.

Willow - Disney+

I loved watching this show, but I especially fel in love with the Mudmander Kenneth.

Becorns - David M. Bird

Just look at them. Have you ever felt completely in awe and at the same time so furiously envious of someones work that you wish you had created what they have created? 🙋‍♀️

See more on David's Instagram and website.



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