Mirjam Mulder of Mierpapier (‘Ant Paper’) makes little works of art you’ve just got to love. And manages to prove that paper mache is so much more than messing around with wet paper and a balloon.
Who are you and how did you get ‘into’ paper mache?
“I’m 35 and I live with my husband Wybo and our two little dogs Raafje and Fae in a small village in South Holland. When I studied Art and Design in Leeuwarden I did an internship with illustrator Inge Adema. I worked on an exposition of paper mache chickens with her. I really enjoyed it right away and these days I work with paper mache full time.”
You have a very distinct style, how do your figures come about?
“Usually I’ll first sketch a little and then get to work. It’s so much fun making a creature and giving him or her an appearance and character of their own. My style still keeps changing, and I find inspiration all over the place: daily stuff, nature (I adore animals), work by other illustrators and artists, but also movies, TV and the internet.”
What’s the big appeal of paper mache for you?
“Everybody messed around with bits of paper, glue and a balloon back in primary school, but you can do so much more with it. It’s an amazingly versatile product. Personally I like to make paper pulp, a type of ‘clay’ consisting of (news)paper, water and glue. Once this pulp has dried out it’s rock-hard and easy to sand down and paint. When I’d just graduated I used to make lots of paintings and illustrations as well, but these days I practically work with paper mache only. You could easily say I’m hooked.”