Thursday, February 19, 2009

building a home for the virgin

The tile maestro who did such a beautiful job on the kitchen last year arrived yesterday morning promptly at 8 AM to begin constructing the niche for the Virgin of Guadalupe. This fellow, Gustavo by name, is a true pleasure to watch. He's got the gift, big time.

First thing was to construct the little shelf at the bottom onto which I can put a candle or two when I have some special pleadings for her (like now, for my sister who was in the ICU at Scripps Hospital. She's better today.)

I may have written about construction methods before, but in case you missed it, here's how much of it is done. Almost everything is poured cement. In our house, all our shelving in the kitchen is cement. Our sala sofa and book case are cement. Houses are brick frame with cement; roofs are poured cement. Thus this interesting looking contraption to build the shelf. First he chipped out a toe hold in the wall for the cement, then set up the frame, fashioned the shelf, and let it dry, propped by a 2x4 wedged underneath.

He drew in pencil on the wall the shape of the arch into which the tile fits, then made, by hand, the frame, molding the cement into a graceful arc. Next he cut the yellow tiles to make a sunburst effect around the edges. And finally he set the big tile into its place.

When I got home from dominoes last night (I won!), there she was, keeping watch.

This morning Gustavo returned to fashion the bottom decoration like the one on the little model, but without the bottom flower. First he drew it out on the wall, then again, molded it by hand and incised the design at the bottom.

At 1 PM this afternoon she was all done. I was presented a bill for 600 pesos ($40 US) and paid it with a smile. Gustavo went off with a smile. Everyone is happy.

The next project will be to repaint the wall around her, then paint the frame and the little area at the top of the tile. I'll get to that in a day or two. Meanwhile, I can just admire her the way she is. Thanks to daughter Alex we have this beautiful addition to our Mexican life!


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