The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic will use a set of 12 colours that are inspired by the palette of iconic Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.
Colour testing by Interstyle Ceramic & Glass of the twelve colours chosen for the TTC Sherbourne Community Mosaic
Thomas John Thomson, painter (born 5 August 1877 in Claremont, ON; died 8 July 1917 in Algonquin Provincial Park, ON). An early inspiration for what became The Group of Seven, Tom Thomson was one of the most influential and enduringly popular Canadian artists of the early part of the twentieth century. His paintings The West Wind (1917) and Jack Pine (1916-1917) are familiar Canadian icons. Thomson was a master colourist.
Thomson was one of the first artists in residence at the Studio Building, located at 25 Severn Street, in the Rosedale ravine immediately east of the above-ground Ellis portal that brings subway trains into and out of the north end of the Bloor-Yonge subway station, a short walking distance from Sherbourne Station. His studio’s site and positioning takes advantage of the northern exposure that illuminates the artist’s canvas with very even, neutral light. Completed in 1914, the nonprofit facility was financed by Lawren Harris, heir to the Massey-Harris farm machinery fortune, and Dr James MacCallum.
Thomson would spend the summers in Algonquin Park and winter at the Studio Building in a refurbished a workmen’s shed on the east side of the building that MacCallum had converted so Thomson could work in an environment closer to his beloved wilderness settings.
Over three weeks in March and April, 2018, we led 24 community pattern-making workshops at seven different venues located within a 5-10 min walking radius of TTC Sherbourne Station. We met with approximately 450 local community members, from kindergarten children to senior citizens, who contributed over 700 unique triangle patterns to this public art project. We are amazed!
Check out all of the pattern design galleries on the Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic Facebook page!
After a brief introduction to the project, participants were invited to create their own triangular patterns by arranging colourful cardboard tiles on special templates. Twelve different colours reference the bold palette of Tom Thomson, a famous Canadian painter who once had a studio in the nearby Rosedale Ravine. When completed, every pattern was photographed and catalogued, and the individual or group of artists were given the opportunity to provide their name to be included on the public artwork plaque as a contributor.
Later this year, ceramic tile mosaics will be installed at multiple locations around TTC Sherbourne Station. The mosaics will be assembled from custom-made tiles, manufactured in Canada from recycled glass. Each tile will be twice as large as the cardboard tiles used in the workshops.
The final mosaic pieces will be inspired by the patterns collected from community members. Parts of individual patterns will be woven together to form new and complex patterns representing the creativity and interconnectivity of the local community.
We greatly appreciate the hospitality, enthusiasm and support that we have received. We would like to give special thanks to those who assisted in hosting the workshops: David Crichton, Rose Avenue Junior Public School; Shabana Sohail, Community Matters Toronto; Simon Storey, Rosedale Junior Public School; Allyson Payne, Branksome Hall School; Suja Selvaraj, St. James Town Community Corner; Suzanne Fernando, Toronto Public Library – St James Town Branch; Rick Lee, Wellesley Community Centre; Jaymie Sampa, 519 Space for Change. Individual pattern-making participants will be acknowledged on a plaque that will be located near the station entrance.
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic public artwork has been commissioned by the Toronto Transit Commission as part of the Easier Access and Second Exit Program.
April 13, 2017
Anvil Centre. New Westminster, BC.
Thanks to Livable Cities 2017 for inviting Rebecca to talk about her practice and to give a presention on how our surroundings can stimulate our senses and help inform how we identify with a particular place.
“Livable Cities” brings together interdisciplinary research, creative inquiry and city planning methods to explore current city development through sound, smell and other embodied perspectives. Presented by Simon Fraser University and hosted by the City of New Westminster, this one-day symposium will take up various disciplinary approaches, including architecture, community development, and socio-cultural issues. The event will include panels and talks, sensory workshops and sound art presentations. Communities in flux across the Lower Mainland present unique opportunities to engage with city planning strategies, urban densification, and the impact of soundscapes, smellscapes and mobilities on local urban environments.
We’re excited about the new Calder Library mosaic project. The mosaic will be inspired by some of the patterns from the different groups of people who make up this Edmonton community. Census data shows that the people of Calder originate from countries and cultures from all over the world, and that there is a large Aboriginal population.
It’s been several years in the works but CITY FABRIC is now underway and due for installation under the south end of Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge this Summer. Rebecca (spacemakeplace) and Matthew Soules (MSA) have recently been material testing. More to come soon…
“The [Burrard] Inlet and Indian Arm have been a source of sustenance for the Tsleil-Waututh people since time out of mind. Our Elders taught us that when the tide went out, the table was set. Industrial development over the past 75 years has made it impossible for our children to enjoy the natural resources that our grandmothers and grandfathers enjoyed.” – Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation
BOUNTY is a public art proposal by spacemakeplace inspired by a quote from Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Her people have lived on the shores around Burrard Inlet for millennia. BOUNTY is intended to honor the commitment and spirit of many local communities situated in Vancouver, especially around Burrard Inlet, who are stewards of our waters, air and land.
BOUNTY abstracts a Littleneck Clam, native to Burrard Inlet, by enlarging it to the size of seating and then casting it in white Ductal®, an ultra-high performance concrete. Ductal® has a fine, shell-like finish and can render realistic detail but is incredibly resilient to hostile environments and so is a perfect material for use in public art where tactility and durability are important.
The outsize proportion of the clam sculpture signifies the abundance, or BOUNTY of seafood that a clean and healthy Burrard Inlet can provide. Three clams are proposed to be clustered in a public plaza in Port Moody, BC. as a monument to this important body of water.
Tessellations form a class of patterns found in nature. The arrays of hexagonal cells in a honeycomb or the diamond-shaped scales that pattern snake skin are natural examples of tessellation patterns. Distinct shapes are formed from several geometric units (tiles) that all fit together with no gaps or overlaps to form an interesting and united pattern. Tessellating patterns are abstract and non-representational which makes their interpretation open to the imagination of all people.
The land now known as Alberta, has been occupied by people for around 8,000 years. Until less than 150 years ago only the sky and the North Saskatchewan River dominated the views across the sweeping prairie vistas where the City of Edmonton now stands. The success of its continued occupation of these lands will be closely related to the stability and quality of the water supply.
The City of Edmonton straddles the North Saskatchewan River which has its headwaters in the Columbia Icefield, high in the Canadian Rockies. The river flows east across Alberta and Saskatchewan to Lake Winnipeg before eventually draining through the Nelson River into Hudson Bay.
Water runs through Canada’s rivers like blood through the country’s veins. Since time immemorial, people who have inhabited the Prairies have relied on the rivers to sustain life. The North Saskatchewan River is part of one of Canada’s most historic waterways and has anchored the urban and economic development of much of Canada’s western prairies.
Alberta’s economy is one of the strongest in the world and to a significant extent its industries rely on an abundant supply of water. While the Saskatchewan River Basin was once predominately covered with wetlands and grasslands, population increases and industrial land use have placed heavy pressure on the water supply and rendered Alberta the most vulnerable of the Prairie Provinces to water shortages.
This situation is compounded by indications that the mountain supplies of water are diminishing. Most large glaciers in the headwaters of the Saskatchewan, Bow and Athabasca rivers have shrunk by ~25% in the last century. Environment Canada has stated that the sustainability of freshwater supplies is a growing concern worldwide and it lists the threat to water availability in Alberta as moderate to high.
Five thousand years ago a huge glacier, a mile thick covered what is now Vancouver, BC.
As this massive ice sheet flowed down the Fraser Valley and across the Lower Mainland, it pushed and crushed mountains of rock in its path. When the giant ice sheet receded back up into the mountains at the end of the last Ice Age it deposited millions of large boulders in its wake.
These glacial erratics remain scattered all over Vancouver, usually buried below the city. As Vancouver grows and the land is developed and redeveloped these ancient boulders are exposed by excavation and removed, once again setting them in motion.
Cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world, in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, as well as in barren deserts and tundra. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons. An ancient example is the inuksuk (plural inuksuit), used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.
In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times; but, since prehistory, they have also been built for a variety of other reasons, such as burial monuments and for defence and hunting, as well as ceremonial, astronomical, and other purposes.