ISAD Ribbon – Willemijn Bolks

About the Author: My name is Willemijn and I am a 19 year old girl from the Netherlands.  From age 12 to 17 I hid my stutter, which forced me to express myself in other ways than speech. This is one of the reasons why I started making art. I’m currently studying design at artschool, and trying to be more open about my stutter. I do this by talking about it and making art or videos. Connecting with other people who stutter really helps me as well, and I’m hoping to go to international stuttering conferences in the future.

I wanted to draw something that is fun to look at, while also spreading awareness about stuttering. I drew all the things that came to mind when I think about stuttering, positive and negative. I chose to make it into a ribbon shape, with our stuttering awareness color. Take a good look and you’ll find our struggles and strengths, from being afraid to speak your mind, to having a community to be proud of. Can you relate to the things I drew, and do you have some additions about what stuttering means to you?

When I look at it, it makes me and proud of being a person who stutters.

People are free to share it, as long as they include my name somewhere 😉

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ISAD Ribbon – Willemijn Bolks — 17 Comments

  1. The maze reminds me of all of the times I tried to substitute words in my head for fear of being found out that I have a stutter. Well done!

    • Thats also what I had in mind when I was drawing it. Thinking about words often feels like a maze in my head. Thank you!

  2. Wow, this is incredible! I am seriously impressed with the complexity of this piece. Sometimes pictures capture experiences in a more encompassing way than words can. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Willemijn, thank you for sharing your drawing. I know one wonderful 15-year girl old who tries hard to hide her stuttering. She feels a lot of shame and doesn’t want anyone to know that she stutters. I’ll ask her to look at your drawing, and perhaps she can be inspired to make her own stuttering awareness ribbon. Best wishes in your life journey.

  4. Willemijn,
    This is such a beautiful drawing that should be shared throughout the stuttering community. I love that you included drawings of so many things that could be perceived as scary to some people who stutter but also including drawings of two hands clasped together to symbolize the stuttering community. I am a speech-pathology graduate student and hope to help people who stutter feel more comfortable with their stuttering and that it can be something they embrace. Do you have any experience working with a speech therapist? And if so, what is something they did that has helped you embrace your stuttering more?

  5. Willemijn,
    This is beautiful! I love that the ends of the ribbon are clasped hands and a heart. To me it symbolizes the strength, support, and love the stuttering community shares with each other. I am a Speech Language Pathology graduate student, and have a few questions if you feel comfortable sharing. Do you have any suggestions for helping people embrace and accept their stutter? What helped you?

  6. Hi Willemijn,This is awsome. i will share it in the Israeli Stuttering Association facebook page , with credit to you, of course.
    Keep the amazing work you’re doing!

  7. You’re so creative and expressive. Thank goodness you don’t hide your beautiful stuttering any more.
    The world would be deprived of such gifts.


  8. Willemijn,

    Thank you for sharing with us your work. This is beautiful. I really enjoy looking through all of the different sections. I read in your bio that until the age of 17 you hid your stutter. I am just curious, which section do you feel represents the relationship you have with your stuttering now?