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Annemarieke Kloosterhof
UK
8 Maids a Milking

Tell us a little about your piece?

I wanted to make an illustrative piece that re-interprets the phrase ' 8 maids a milking' with a modern twist. The piece is made up of nearly 200 separately hand cut pieces of paper in a limited colour scheme, that once put together, depict a diverse group of mums feeding their newborns. The concept was to challenge the stigma of public breastfeeding and to help celebrate this natural act of motherhood. I wanted to include some people using bottles too, as not all mothers can breastfeed. The aim was to create a fun, playful paper illustration about a political topic in a clear but respectful way. 

 

What was the most challenging part of the brief?

I was originally going to make a much more straightforward interpretation of 8 maids of milking, depicting 8 Dutch Milkmaids in my grandmother's traditional garments of Zeeland. I kept fighting with the idea though as it felt too obvious a choice and partially because of the perfectly matching colour scheme I couldn't help but think it looked old-fashioned and a bit boring. I was already half-way through cutting & making the piece when I decided to scrap the entire idea and start over. Keeping the same paper colour scheme I then decided to make the illustration about 8 women breastfeeding. 

 

What part of the collaboration did you enjoy the most?
Seems simple - but the paper thickness I wanted was out of stock, so instead of my usual 135 gsm I worked with paper/ card at 300 gsm. This is really a lot thicker than I normally work with, which means the paper has different qualities, and for a 'stacked up' paper effect like this it worked like a charm. It really elevated the pieces (pardon the pun) and created some lovely defined shadows. I always enjoy pushing my comfort zone and I really did that with this political illustration. 

How did you enjoy working with the Gmund Colours range?

The papers were very vibrant of colour, which is perfect. The blues were really deep and 'solid'. I tried recycling the 3 colours I got given by creating a hand-made piece of recycled paper, after putting all 3 in a blender... and normally the colour washes out a lot due to the amount of water used.. but this time it just stayed perfectly saturated!? 

The 300gsm thickness was great too, and I loved the subtle texture of the paper.

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