On Wednesday, while driving to Patzcuaro,my friend and I decided to take a side road to look for interesting new folk art. We happened on the Fiesta Patronal de Santiago in the tiny town of Cuanajo, Michoacan. Santiago is the Patron Saint of this little town. We parked the car just in time to see the parade of charros (cowboys) on their horses riding down the main street. We followed everyone to the sounds of the band, to the church grounds where the Padre was giving an outdoor mass right next to this beautiful overhead display of papel picado.
I’ve talked about these before but they are so amazing, that I want to show you a few examples. These are gorgeous pictures cut out of black paper. The first one is large (38.5″ by 24″) and the other two are smaller (24″ by 16″). They are cut by hand, with a small fingernail scissors, by a master designer and paper-cutter, Margarita Fick. She grew up in a family that made papel picado, the cut out tissue paper flags, so she learned early about paper and its ways. She now is the only person I know in Mexico who creates these beautiful (and limited) designs. Most of her designs are women skeletons dressed in fancy cutout dresses, but she does do some Frida Kahlo designs and a few non-skeleton designs. The backgrounds are filled with insects, butterflies, lizards, dogs, pigs or a variety of animals, plants and leaves. The composition of the piece is always incredible.
Notice the asymmetry of the last photo. The symmetrical pieces are folded in half and then cut, but the asymmetrical ones are more difficult to make because they are not folded before cutting.
Contact us if you are interested in purchasing or have any additional questions!
These delicate tissue paper flags are known as “papel picado” or “cut paper/ picked paper” and are handmade in Mexico. They are another of the fabulous handmade traditional arts that flourish all year but particularly around times of important holidays, Christmas, Easter and Day of the Dead. If you’ve been to Mexico, you may have seen streets draped with these flags before and during holidays or special occasions.
They are made with a chisel and a stencil and “picked” in stacks of 30-40 pieces then strung on string in a long line, mixing colors and loveliness together. It is one of the ephemeral arts of Latin America–made for a temporary time, left to evaporate in the wind and rain after the holiday. A nice reflection of a cultural belief that we can’t hold on to anything, all aspects of our lives are temporary, even beauty.
Here’s a photo I took on my last trip to Oaxaca. Just walking down the street and turned the corner onto this exhuberance.
We carry packages of papel picado at GUILD.
This is an example of a paper cut-out by Margarita Fick, the one and only person in Mexico doing these amazing paper pieces. She comes from a family that made “papel picado” or the cut out tissue paper flags that are strung across streets for fiestas & celebrations. Every piece is unique and all are cut with fingernail scissors, not the usual paper chiseling of the traditional papel. Some are symmetrical and have been folded to cut and others are asymmetrical and are entirely cut by hand. Many of the pieces feature catrinas with flowers, insects, animals, different skirt designs and blouse designs. They are super cool.
Margarita Fick’s small paper cutouts can be seen at GUILD. If you’d like to see what selection we have available, please contact us at email@example.com.