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About Us

Yreina Ortiz cutting papel picado

Makers of Fine Papel Picado

Established in 2008, we are a family business in Indio, California. ¡Ay Mujer! is myself, Yreina; my brother, Esteban; my daughter, Bella; and our cousin, Lydia. Together, we specialize in making original papel picado, (Mexican papercut flags and decor). 

Also part of the team: Mom helps with the sewing projects when we work in felt, and Dad supports us with business advice-- in fact, he was the one who convinced me to get a studio and figure out how to become a full-time artist. 

Our work has been featured in many print and online publications, including Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides UK, Destination Weddings, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Eco-Beautiful Weddings, Pregnancy and Newborn, and Taste of Home. 

Look for our banners in the Cinco de Mayo episode of the Food Network's hit TV show, Giada At Home ...and featured in Etsy's new nationally televised TV commercials!

Process

Whether by commission or inspiration, I start by drawing my designs and lettering with a pencil on graph paper. Next, I'll cut a test banner. I look for areas in the flag design that may be too delicate or busy. When I'm satisfied with the design, we handcraft the final banners. 

Sometimes, we will hear from a bride who framed a flag of our papel picado that hung in her wedding. She associates it with her happiness: remembering the time, the place, and the people that shared in it. It is an honor to create this connection. We've been doing this for over 10 years, so we're seen our brides come back for their baby showers, birthdays, and graduations. It's been an amazing journey to grow along with you all.

 First birthday portrait with Ay Mujer papel picado

What is papel picado

In the U.S., commercially available papel picado is mostly mass-produced. Many people don't know that papel picado has roots that can be traced back to ancient Mexican indigenous peoples, who would cut ceremonial offerings out of bark paper, (amatl). Today, papel picado’s connection to life's ceremonies endures. It's used in many celebrations such as: Day of the Dead, Christmas, weddings, baptisms, quinceañeras, etc...

Ay Mujer papel picado altar

Why do you make papel picado?

In our familia, Friday nights are part of our living ceremony. We gather around the kitchen table-- eating, laughing, catching up on the latest & greatest, and teasing each other. Oh, the stories we tell! ¡Ay Mujer! was born on one of these nights. Because, why not? Why not make a living doing what we love? Why not fulfill a romantic yearning for quality and substance in our craft? Why not reclaim what has become 'disposable art' and elevate it back to where it started... as a sacred offering… a prayer?

Wedding altar by artist Yreina Flores

 

About the Artist behind our designs: Yreina Flores

Artist Yreina Flores

Yreina grew up appearing in local parades alongside her grandfather, Dave Hernandez, the founder of the City of Indio's International Tamale Festival. Her early memories are filled with the excitement of community festivals, fairs and looking up to her community-organizer grandparents, parents and family friends. Her hometown's motto is "The City of Festivals". Her happiness, pride and love for her community is reflected in her work.

Yreina's fine art papel picado pieces have exhibited in the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the PS Art Museum of Palm Desert. She holds a BFA in Photography from Art Center College of Design.

With previous working experience as an art director at a sign company, Yreina's design aesthetic is influenced by both her culture and her time as a graphic designer among the self-proclaimed 'wall dogs' (old-school sign painters). "I learned so much there at the sign shop about craftsmanship and attention to detail. That place was where I learned that I was an artist."

Follow her on Instagram: @aymujer

 

A peek into our studio:

Artist Esteban Flores

Making Ay Mujer papel picado

Artist team member Lydia

Artist Yreina Flores and daughter Bella

Artist Yreina Flores making papel picado

Artist Yreina Flores

Ay Mujer studio

Rainbow heart papel picado by Ay Mujer Shop

 

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