Chapel of the Angels (Mopan River)

This commission arose from a visit we made to the Mopan River Resort in Belize in the winter of 2003. In the course of our visit Pamela Picon, who owned the resort with her husband, became interested in my work and specifically in whether I could make some mosaics for the wedding chapel they had built. They had named it the Chapel of the Angels, but there were no angels in it.

In the course of surveying the chapel and making pictures I slipped and fell on some wet grass and fractured my right wrist, but plans for the mosaics took shape during my healing (while I did some painting with my left hand).

The four angels are mounted on plywood panels. Not your traditional angels, these angels represent the Angel of Mopan River, the Angel of Tropical Flowers, the Angel of the Wings of Paradise, and the Angel of Maya Mountain. These photos give you a sense of how I first sketch the design onto the white panels, with notes about colors and size of tile. I put down the outlines of the main figures first and then fill in with the subordinate motifs.

Sylvia Everett laying tile on art board

To affix the tiles, I lay down a small amount of tile glue (Gemtek) and push the tiles firmly down in place. When all the tiles are in place I smear a grout of an appropriate color all over the tiles, pressing the grout into all the cracks, trying not to leave any bubbles that would become holes. To remove the excess grout, I later rub the surface with vinegar in a soaked rag until all the excess grout is removed.

Affixing tiles with glue

While the tiles are pristine and hard, working with these glues, grout, and solvents, as well as tile and glass chips, can get messy, as you can see in this picture of me working on another mosaic. Gloves, apron, and table covers are all part of the process.

Grouting mosaic tiles

When I was finished, Bill built some sturdy wooden boxes to ship them to Houston for trans-shipment to Belize. I hope their vibrant colors were appreciated by guests and wedding couples. Upon the death of her husband, Pamela sold the resort and took the mosaics to her new home in Guatemala.

Sylvia Everett working on mosaic on work table