Sermel Papier Mache

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Sermel Workshop
Sermel papier mache workshop was located in a beautiful old adobe house in the
Historic District of Tonala, the renowned folk art town in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Their style was bright and colorful and their pieces, especially animals, were painted with the traditional designs that have characterized Tonala's crafts.

The workshop was founded in 1963 by Sergio Bustamante and Melquiades Preciado, the name Ser-Mel is a combination of the first three letters of their names.

Their fine and original artwork was immediately recognized in Mexico and around the world.

In 1972 they won the gold medal given by the government's exportation agency for the high sales of their original design egg.

By the end of the 1970's Sergio Bustamante left the workshop. Melquiades Preciado and his brothers Luis and Fausto kept in charge of Sermel.

Melquiades, who was Tonala's Mayor and president of the State's House of Folk Art, dedicated his life to the well-being of the community and to promote Jalisco's crafts. After his passing in 1992 his brothers and their children continued producing their pieces until October 2013.

Papier Mache Making Process
The first step is to make a clay mold. Afterwards two halves of this mold are casted in plaster and from them the fiberglass final molds are produced.

The two fiberglass halves are filled with a mixture of grounded cardboard and engrudo.

After hardening the pieces are removed from the molds and let dry up to a month.

The leftovers are cut and the two halves are glued together.

Paper covering:
The piece is covered with newspaper and engrudo.

Detail sculpting:
All the piece´s details, such as mouth eyes and ears, are sculpted with paper paste.

Paste covering:
After the details have been sculpted the piece is covered with 3 layers of fine paper paste.

The piece is sanded until the entire surface is smooth enough.

Basic Painting:
The figurine is painted with a white coat and then colored with acrylic paintings.

Also with acrylic paintings the piece is decorated with flowers, feathers, animals, etc.

Movement and expression are achieved with watercolor.

Finally an acrylic lacquer layer is applied to the figurine.

For more than 50 years Sermel, with its creativity and quality, shaped the papier mache modern tradition in Mexico, creating iconic images in Mexican folk art.
Among their creations are the dolls, the sun faces, the viejitos (old men),
the hatching eggs, the pink flamingo, the hanging birds and the giraffes.

Sermel papier mache sculptures

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