The art of making Papier-mâché in Jacmel


Papier-mâché = French for „chewed paper”, is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

Papier-mâché is an extremely important form of art in Haiti and there is no other place where it is produced in such magnitude as Jacmel.  We visited this beautiful seaside town to meet some papier-mâché artisans who supply the colorful papier-mâché vases and serving trays to Macy’s Heart of Haiti program.

Papier-mâché has been made for centuries originating in China, the inventors of paper, back in the Han Dynasty (BC 202 – AD 220) and spreading to Japan, Persia and Egypt and eventually Europe in the mid 17th century.  In Haiti, papier-mâché has been made for generations as an important artistic and cultural part of Carnival and other celebrations.

Our group visited the studio of papier-mâché artisan Pierre Satyr where we received a live demonstration of how to make a vase out of…

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