Roberto Mejia Muñoz
Los Reyes la Paz, México
Popotillo has been an artesania tradition for three generations in Roberto Mejia Muñoz' family. Martha Patricia García Aguilar (Roberto's wife) learned this craft from her mother who learned from her mother. She, in turn, taught Roberto the art of popotillo over 30 years ago. They work together as a team along with their three sons, ages 27, 25 and 21. This truly is a family affair as sisters and nephews also take part in crafting the popotillo.
Today, there are few popotillo artists. Roberto's family is very concerned that this art will be lost in time and keeping the entire family involved assures them that the art will continue. The craft, once learned, takes on new style with each different artist. They reflect their own experiences, visions, and inspiration in their work because everyone sees the world and life differently.
The popotillo straw is a plant that grows in the hills of the Valley of Mexico, in area such as Popocatepetl, Nevado de Toluca, and Ajusco volcano regions. It is a tall grass also used to make brooms. The straw cannot be used when green and so is collected in the months of December to March when it is dry. Once collected, it is dyed using natural dyes and then set out to dry.
DYES USED in STRAW ART
Beige - Canyaigre dock root
Blue - Lupin flower
Brown- Gambel oak bark
Green - Sargo brush
Orange - Yellow onion skin
Olive Green - Red onion skin
Pink - Sumac Berries
Red/Orange - Alder bark
Tan - Rabbit brush
White - Cactus flower
Yellow - Small snake weed
Red - Chinchilla insect
Beeswax is put into a saucepan with water to boil. Added to this is tree resin (pitch), which makes a smooth paste. Then the glue is placed on a white sheet of cardboard-type paper using a wooden spatula in the shape that the artist will be creating his piece of art.
Then the process of contouring begins. Tiny bits of straw are cut using a sharp instrument similar to an Exacto blade and then are pressed into the beeswax one after the other using varied colors to achieve shading and highlights. The pieces are added one by one until the piece of art is completed.
A layer of sealant is brushed on top to ensure the colors do not fade and dust does not adhere to the art work. The family uses this technique to decorate jewelry boxes, wooden crosses, calendars, and miniature paintings of different sizes.
This craft originated from the pre-Hispanic feather art where feathers were used instead of straw.
At the National Feria del Caballo in Texcoco, Roberto won first place in 2009 and second place in 2010 for his popotillo art.
Martha Patricia Garcia Aguilar, Esposa: Primer Lugar En El Xli Concurso Nacional “ Gran Premio De Arte Popular 2016 Realizado Por El Fonart. En La Categoria De Pintura Popular. Segundo Lugar En El Año 2011, En El Primer Concurso Del Juguete Popular Mexicano Realizado Por Fonart Y Museo Del Juguete Popular Mexicano En La Categoria De Instrumentos Musicales
Hijo,Maro Antonio Mejia Garcia
Tercer Lugar En El Año 2013 En La Primer Concurso : Premio Nacional De Jovenes Creadores Del Arte Popular Mexicano En La Categoria De Pintura Popular
Cerrada Rio Candelaria No.26
La Magdalena Atlicipac
Los Reyes la Paz, México
553 773 8253 WhatsApp