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the Art of Papel Picado

Papel picado means "punched paper" in Spanish. Papel picado also describes the traditional folk art used in Mexico to decorate altars, tables, ceilings and plazas during festivals. Papel picado artists use hammer and chisel to punch designs out of stacks of up to forty layers of tissue at a time.

Artist/author Kathleen Trenchard has developed original cut paper applications of this most unusual technique of "punching paper." She creates unique wedding banners, invitations, tiny flags for centerpiece/souvenirs, luminarias, place mats, doilies, tablecloths, table runners, decorative shelf and mantlepiece liners, window curtains, lamp shade design, stencils, wall hangings, brochure covers, note cards, menus, large plastic banners for booths or outdoor events, design and cut patterns into special fabrics such as suede, leather and felt.

Ms. Trenchard has developed colorful corporate design packages ranging from brochure covers to business cards. She has cut logos onto charming luminarias and sombrero shaped place mats. She has presented lecture-demonstrations and workshops to museums, conventions, and schools. Contact Kathleen for more information or to receive her catalogue on CUT-IT-OUTŪ activity kits, custom designs and decoration.

Trenchard offers lecture/demonstrations in traditional Mexican hammer and chisel techniques. She customizes these presentations to the age, level of expertise and interests of her audience. For instance, she has a one hour slide presentation on the history of Day of the Dead cut paper art in Mexico. The lecture features many examples of Mexican paper cuts from museum collections and from her own collection. The lecture/demos can include a hands-on participatory session where scissor techniques are demonstrated using original designs customized for easy cutting. These designs can feature everything from a Mother's Day banner to a Christmas card design. Trenchard has patterns and kits for every occasion.

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