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Yreina Ortiz cutting papel picado

Makers of Fine Modern Papel Picado

Established in 2008, we are a family business in Indio, California. ¡Ay Mujer! is myself, Yreina and my brother, Esteban. Together, we specialize in making original, custom, and ready-made papel picado, (Mexican papercut flags and decor).

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!

Process

Whether by commission or inspiration, I start off by drawing my designs and lettering with a pencil on good ol'fashioned 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 go ahead & handcraft the final banners. We use only 100% recycled tissue paper. 

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!

What is papel picado?

In the U.S., commercially available papel picado is mostly mass-produced, decorative-cut, plastic and paper flags. Many 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, etc...

In my 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?

About the Artist: Yreina Flores Ortiz

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 current work in papel picado.

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 is a member of the Guild of American Papercutters. She was also honored to have partnered with X-Acto as a selected papercutting artist in GAP Masters Club 2012.

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 self-proclaimed "wall dogs", old-school sign painters. "I learned so much there at the sign shop about craftsmanship and attention to detail. Ultimately, I became dependent not on a computer, but on my hand and eyes."

 

 

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