The Mexico Chapters: Introduction

Coyoacan papercut, Mexico. Photo © Lizzie Ridout

Coyoacan papercut, Mexico. Photo © Lizzie Ridout

A long overdue label called Peregrinations:The Mexico Chapters has been added to Art Sparklets as - almost a year on - I continue to process all that I saw whilst I was in Mexico. The three week trip - part funded by Creative Skills - was fleeting and left me delighted, shocked, baffled and intrigued.

The reason it has taken so long to get something up here was not due to laziness on my part, more a need to reflect on how what I had experienced could be put to good use in terms of my own work. Interestingly I wrote my proposal, quite confident that I knew what effect the trip was likely to have on me. However the reality was vastly different and although I did follow up a lot of the initial research I had done in the UK, you just can't predict what will inspire you or how, when you are actually in a place. So I had to deviate from my list of best-laid plans and just follow my gut instinct. I can't believe I forgot about the element of chance!

Mexico is special: it's frustrating and vibrant and fake and real all at once. It's magical and harsh and tantalising and impossible. And I needed some time to think about how to begin to capture some of these qualities in my own work. So this is where I begin to commit the thoughts and parts of the collections I made whilst there into something more tangible. It seems particularly pertinent when I'm also working on new pieces about shadows that grapple with paper engineering and cutting.

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This banner was saved away in my plan-chest simply because of its wonderful text. The banner is just under 1.5 metres long and cut in tissue using fierritos or chisels hit with hammers, through up to 50 sheets of tissue at a time. Coyoacan is a district in the south of Mexico City. The skeletal figure is La Catrina.

La Catrina © Jose Guadalupe Posada