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  • Writer's pictureAlynn Guerra

I spent 10 days at La Ceiba Grafica with my fellow Tanglefoot artists.

Here is a little recount of experience.

La Ceiba Grafica is located in a small town near Coatepec, Veracruz called La Orduña. It is high up in the mountains where coffee grows like weeds and the clouds often come down and the town disappears in front of your eyes.

Side view of the main entrance

This huge tree called Ceiba, lends its name to the institution.

On our first night in Mexico we took a bus to Puebla where we stayed the night and part of next day, then we took a bus to Xalapa and then a taxi to La Orduña. We got there around midnight.

Next day we had our first Mokuhanga lesson, ugh, carving a solid plank of hardwood is so hard!

On our second day I learned that my family had tested positive for COVID and therefore I could be infected, sure enough I tested positive the next day. I am vaccinated and boosted, I wear a mask wherever I go, I use sanitizer all the time, I avoid crowds, etc. and I still got infected; however, my symptoms were milder than a common cold and only lasted a day, plus I was put on antivirals and antibiotics and I kicked the virus quick. I was lucky to have access to an amazing doctor who is also my uncle.

But having to let everyone know that you are infected really sucks, it's stigmatizing and truly, my life would have been a lot easier if I had chosen to ignore the text, not get tested and pretended I was COVID free, but it's a question of basic decency and the right thing to do. (As a side note, if you have symptoms, get tested it's not likely to be the flu or a cold)

So I cannot say enough good things about all the people from la Ceiba who were willing to make all kinds of accommodations, I was given an isolated room with my own bathroom and was able to take the class outside in the patio. And despite some gaps in the instruction, I feel like I gathered enough information to start a few projects back at home.

This room was separated from the building and completely isolated, yet it offered the most spectacular view of the sunrise and all kinds of morning bird songs. I couldn't have been luckier than this.
My isolated room

The view from my window

Traveling with my fellow Tanglefoot artists was the highlight of the trip. It was a really nice surprise to discover how good we all got along. Travel can break or strengthen a relationship, in our case the later was true, in fact I haven’t laughed so hard and so often in years.

Yes, it was cold!

Next: the Mokuhanga technique

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