A paper alchemist in Old Havana

A paper alchemist in Old HavanaHAVANA, Oct. 5 In a small shop on Calle Mercaderes, Old Havana, a young man with alchemist hands turns the old into art.

Every day he struggles to wake up early to enter the Craft Paper Workshop, “my other house” Josuan A. DelgadoGuanche rushed to answer.

There in No. 120 of Merchants between Obrapia and Bishop, Josuan’s hands create new realities from impurities and old papers that no one watches anymore. In the routine of the day to day finds rhythm to his incessant delivery, takes his apron long, his boots high and begins to crush old leaves, añosas.

“First I select the paper that I will use, clean its impurities, hydrate it in water for 24 to 72 hours depending on the type of paper, and then pass it through an industrial blender; in the end I tie it with some artificial or natural coloring such as the tobacco leaf or the quibombo. “

“I feel like a real maker, because I’m always after the search for new dyes or binders like rice water with the substance that secretes okra when cut.”

From January 18, 2015 Josuan Delgado began his incursions in the Paper Workshop of Habana Vieja, belonging to the Office of the Historian of that city, which launched a course that came to the ears of the young man, who was immediately interested in the techniques of the traditional method: make paper with your hands.

“But what excites me most about this job is to make layer by layer the leaves, to palpate that pulp of thousands of pieces of paper that in the end is recyclable raw material discarded by the centers belonging to the Office of the Historian or other institutions of the city capitalina “.

“And that is one of the purposes that I appreciate the most because I also contribute to give life back to something that for others was not interesting, and with it I perform crafts that many people pursue and seek in our workshop, such as wedding gift wrap, cards presentation for quinces, birthdays, receptions, costumes, dresses, in addition to folders, letters, cases, etc … “

In his social mission Josuan Delgado revitalizes functions that have been lost: the politics of recycling and dealing with matter in a natural and human way, without the mediation of machines.