The children learned about a traditional Mexican style of Art today. They created designs based on this style which were imaginative, decorative and highly stylised and will paint onto their own version of amate paper next week.
Amate is a type of bark paper that has been manufactured in Mexico since 75CE. It was used primarily to create codices. Amate paper was used for communication, records, and rituals. After the Spanish conquest, its production was mostly banned and replaced by European paper. However, Amate paper production never completely died, nor did the rituals associated with it. It remained strongest in the rugged, remote mountainous areas. Spiritual leaders in small villages were described as producing paper with "magical" properties.
The children watched a video of the lengthy process of making this paper and saw how strips of bark were boiled, bleached and dyed to create the paper.
Amate paper is one of the most widely available Mexican handicrafts, sold both nationally and abroad. Nahua paintings also called "amate," receive the most attention, but Otomi paper makers have also received attention not only for the paper itself but for crafts made with it such as elaborate cut-outs.
The children might like to find out some more about these paintings and bring in some pictures for their sketchbooks.