Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

Yesterday’s News is Today’s New Business

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Sandra Herrera – new store on Juarez north of Elements
Who’d have thought – your morning newspaper and coffee could be turned into art.
What started as method to learn English, reading discarded newspapers from the hotel where her papa worked, has turned into a business for Sandra Herrera. Eight years ago she moved to Isla Mujeres from the silver town of Taxco in the state of Guerrero. 
Soon her sister Monica followed, then her dad, and finally she returned to Taxco to bring her mom and younger brother to the island.
Sandra working on a new item (from her photo collection)
Working at a local café, Rooster on the Go, her boss urged her to learn English. She attended the English School on Isla for a year and a half, and diligently read the newspapers. Slowly, slowly she learned to understand, and then speak the language. And then her life took a funny little twist. She made a small basket out of the discarded newspapers as a gift for a customer at the coffee shop. The recipient was delighted: “It’s beautiful! Why don’t you make more of these?” Using glue to bind the rolled paper, and coffee to varnish the finished products she created more baskets to sell at the café.
January 2012 Artist Fair at original Barlito’s location
Then when approached by Brad and Tiffany Wareing of Barlito’s to participate in their first Artist’s Fair, Sandra shyly agreed to display her baskets. She was pleasantly surprised when her creations sold at the event. Sandra agreed to participate in the second show as a way to practice her English. A year ago when the Artist Fair changed locations from the street corner in front of Barlito’s to the larger municipal plaza, Sandra continued to participate, gaining more confidence and selling more of her art work.
Sandra’s new store on Juarez
Recently Sandra decided to take the plunge, opening her own store on Juarez just north of Elements of the Island. She said the scariest part of being a new business owner is keeping up with the demand for new creations, and special orders. 
Even though discarded newspapers are plentiful on the island, she still needs a steady supply of clean papers to keep up. Sandra smiled as she recounted one incident – she was checking various nearby garbage cans for newspapers when a customer from the caférecognized her. She laughed with embarrassment, felling a bit foolish at being caught with her hands in the garbage can. If you happen to have newspapers that you are throwing out, why not drop them off at her store and check out her newest creations.
Materials for making baskets (photo by Sandra)
Sandra is normally at her store Monday to Friday from 10:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening, unless she is in Cancun buying supplies.  On weekends she works at Rooster on the Go, situated on the street behind the Artisan’s Market near Poc Na. The owners are very supportive of her creativity.
Sandra at a recent Artist’s Fair 

When the Artist Fair resumes in the fall, you will find Sandra set up at the municipal plaza with her beautiful creations and a gorgeous welcoming smile. Be sure to stop and say hello. She makes some pretty cool stuff!
Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie
My favourite – a purse made of paper! (photo by Sandra)

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