Forging life and destiny is something that is fulfilled along the way, a vision that goes beyond reason, where our greatest desire converges, struggling to get there. Leave everything behind and follow what your heart dictates to start a new path, at that precise moment, we realize that the love for what we want so much has no limits or borders.
For teacher Leigh Ann Thelmadatter, loving Mexican beauty was a matter of total dedication, however, that love became a passion and constant work that has led her to learn more and more about places and traditions.
In this area, teacher Leigh Ann discovered among so many trades, one in particular that caught her attention, mainly due to the lack of documentation and disclosure “La Cartonería Mexicana“.
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, she was always fascinated by the idea of living in another country and speaking another language. Her life took several paths, but finally in 2003, with a master’s degree in teaching English, he had the opportunity to live and work in Mexico.
She was a tenured professor of English at Tec de Monterey, a situation that forced her to settle entirely in the great Mexican metropolis.
Her first trips to know Mexico were always in the tourist field, acquiring superficial knowledge, all the towns seemed the same to him (church, zócalo, and municipal palace).
The constant reading of Spanish led her to want to show everything she was learning and understanding about Mexican culture, which led her to collaborate with various articles for Wikipedia.
This activity helped her to develop projects with his students, one of them called, contribution program, to include social service students, which attracted enough attention in the community of “Wikipedia” editors, who received invitations to make presentations about their publishing projects, together with her students, in events for USA, Europe, and Central America.
But Wikipedia has limitations, mainly you can only include data that already appears in traditional publications. There are many topics about Mexico that deserve articles in Wikipedia but there is no reference to verify the information.
In 2015, he started a blog titled “Creative Hands of Mexico”, mainly focused on the country’s handicrafts and artisans.
In 2018, the Vallarta Tribune newspaper began publishing some articles from her blog.
Knowing the art of cardboard arises mainly; for being a subject little spread in Mexico and especially, abroad.
For the same year 2018, the publisher Schiffer Publishing (one of the main publishers, publishing books on crafts) agreed to publish Leigh Ann’s book “Paper, Paste and Fiesta: Mexican Cartonería / Papel, Pasta y Fiesta: La Cartonería Mexicana, which was released in November 2019.
Fantastically, it is a bilingual book, which leads us to travel the world of cardboard in various corners of Mexico, page by page; the paper and cardboard are decorated to colorfully display the great variety of pieces made and operated by the hands of artists and master craftsmen.
In 2019, she started collaborations with the Mexico Daily site. National new site in English, which covers the news for readers who are not familiar with Spanish.
As of today, Leigh Ann is compiling a series of profiles on artisans, in collaboration with the Feria de Maestros de Arte in Chapala, Jalisco, to support those suffering from the pandemic.
In addition, it has started new collaborations with cultural institutions to promote cartoneros.
On March 19, 2021, they virtually inaugurated the “Collective Exhibition of Cartonería 2021”, curated by teacher Leigh Ann, and which you can visit through the page (https://artesanias.inba.gob.mx/).
Researching, writing, documenting and promoting the history of Mexican crafts and artisans requires a great investment of time, but above all, a gigantic love for Mexico.
Email: [email protected]