Perforated and Cut Paper Retablos
Few, who experience a Mexican fiesta will forget the brightly colored perforated paper decorations called papel picado. Papel picado means "punched paper" in Spanish and is a traditional folk art that involves cutting out infinite, intricate patterns on, most often, colorful tissue paper. The tissue paper is then glued to a string in a line to form banners which are used to decorate altars, tables, ceilings and plazas during festivals throughout the year.
Aside from working in the fields, peasants in the 19th century Puebla, Mexico found time to use their creativity and skill to work with this type of paper until they created an authentic handicraft- papel picado. Artists first began with rudimentary scissors and then switched to forged-steel chisels, which made it easier to create more detailed elegant works.
Pedro Ortega Lozano was born on February 23, 1960 in the neighborhood of the Assumptions (Asucíon)Tlahuac, D. F. While he still makes many of the traditional chisel-cut tissue paper papel picado works, he has become well known by collectors and others for his elaborate alter pieces that incorporated foil and embossed paper.
His work is on permanent display at the National Museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City. He has received several awards as the Second Place National Contest organized by Casart Miniatures in 1986. Pedro was the National Art Prize winner in the Rama Paper in 1992. He is a member of the International Association of Paper Cutters based in the United States. In 1994, he went to Kyoto, Japan for the Internationa Paper Design Competition.
This traditional craft has survived because parents are adamant about teaching it to their children. Pedro continues the tradition of preserving this folk art by teaching young people his draft. The craft requires patience, creativity, and dedication. Pedro's attention to detail can be seen and felt on every piece of his work. Touch the fragile, delicate and very light perforated paper and you will feel the artisan's caring and love for his work.