Amate Paper Cutouts

Grade 4/5:  Exploring Symmetry with Paper Cutouts Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 2.28.37 AM

The discussion began with the idea of symmetry and mirror image, and then we went on to looking at the Otomi people of east central Mexico (Pueblo region).  The women produced paper bark from fig and mulberry trees, making symmetrically cut figures.  The cutouts described animal and human and god figures, often invoking fertility or rain, or other beneficial forces.

I demonstrated how to get a symmetrical cutout by folding the paper lengthwise and cutting along the spine of the fold.  We did this project close to Halloween, so I gave them an opportunity to do two:  a jack o’ lantern and a animal from their imagination.  The latter could be a composite of different animals, and I encouraged them to draw it out first and to go for interesting profiles and interior cutouts.

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Thanks to Julie at for the idea on this one!

Fall 2012 / Parliament Oak School


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