Welcome, Leigh Thelmadatter from Creative Hands of Mexico. I want to thank her for taking the time to respond to my questions so I can highlight her in the 2019 A to Z Challenge.

Leigh what brought you to Mexico?  Do you live here permanently?

I was recruited by the Tec de Monterrey to teach advanced English. I have been here since 2003, a permanent resident, own my apartment and have a Mexican husband.

What was the inspiration behind your blog name?

The blog is 95% about Mexican handcrafts but I did not want the word “handcrafts” in the name as I occasionally foray out of it. For example, I did a blog post on an artist from a handcraft family who does murals based on the alebrijes his family makes.

It looks like your blogs are about local artists all over Mexico, have you met many of them?  Has any specific artesian inspired you and how?

I try to meet all of them in person if it is at all possible. Again, over 90% I have met face to face. They all do, especially those who have made a living using what little resources they have. For example, cartoneros (those that do cartonería or paper mache) almost literally make a living from garbage.

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico?  

I have two, both in Guerrero state. One was in Xochistlahuaca, a small Amuzgo (indigenous) town where we (my husband/photographer and I) not only got the guided tour but ate a wonderful meal cooked by a grandma who did not speak Spanish. The other was to Olinalá. The lacquerware is wonderful but the drive down was gorgeous. Only ones on the highway in many areas.

What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico?  

I was overconfident when I came to central Mexico, having lived on the border for 11 years. But central Mexico is nothing like Sonora or Chihuahua…So when culture shock hit me, I was very unprepared. I remember one day about 3 months in being in a big enclosed tianguis and having a mild panic attack. Has never happened since thank goodness.

Do you have any advice for those planning to move or travel to Mexico?

Keep an open mind and that includes not beating yourself up if you come across things you don’t like. Nothing is perfect but if you do this, you will appreciate the good that is here.

I see you have an emphasis on the local artists or craftsman, do you plan to continue in this direction or expand in other areas?

I am keeping my current focus. There are so many craftspeople and local traditions that are not covered. In fact, I have a book coming out on cartonería coming out by the end of the year. While a narrow focus, there is still a lot of work to do.

UPDATE** The official release date is November 28, 2019 for Mexican Cartonería: Paper, Paste, and Fiesta.

The book is now available to pre order on Amazon!

Information on your Social Media and Website?

Social Media via Facebook at Creative Hands of Mexico and personal page at Leigh Thelmadatter.

Also the website is located at Creative Hands of Mexico.

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2 thoughts on “Creative Hands of Mexico

  1. Her advice to anyone living in Mexico could be applied to anyone who chooses to live in another culture. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico, China and now Vietnam. If you are not willing to open your mind and try to understand the culture around you, it will eat you alive.

    I am at Transformed Nonconformist. I usually write humor pieces, but I am getting serious this month. I’m writing about people who have deeply impacted my life.

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