Glass reached Mexico with the Spaniards. Filled with wonder, the natives exchanged their gold for the glass beads the Conquistadors offered them.
The first glass factory was established in 1542, in the state of Puebla, where the “blown glass” technique became popular. The most popular blown glass handicrafts are beer mugs, glasses and jugs.
There are innumerable crafts made from paper.
Amate paper is obtained by pounding the bark of a Mexican tree of the same name, after which it is decorated with landscapes, figures of birds, and flowers. This handicraft combines the work of two Mexican states: the amate is made in Puebla, and is painted in Guerrero.
A trend has recently begun, of painting amate paper with scenes of daily life of the
region’s inhabitants: peasants working the land, the celebration of a wedding, a bullfight. These are called “Story” Amates because they recount an event. Most of the painters make human and animal figures in profile, like those of the pre-Hispanic Codices.
Also made of paper are the piñatas which are used for parties. Because they are much in demand, these craft objects are produced in many of the country’s markets.
Clay pots are lined with newspaper and then decorated with thin wrapping paper. Traditional piñatas have the shape of a five point star, but today there is an unlimited variety of designs: balls, animals, and even movie and T.V. characters!
Paper with cutout designs is produced for parties with a hammer and a small chisel to perforate rice paper, giving it the form of silhouettes.
Papel Picado and Paper Puppets
As we can see, craftsmen transform the materials that nature offers them, into exceptionally beautiful objects for daily use.