Calder Community Mosaic
In 2015, our proposal for a community mosaic mural made of colourful glass tiles was selected by the Edmonton Arts Council to be installed in the new 10,000 sq. ft. stand-alone LEED® Silver certified Calder Branch opening in 2018.
Calder, Edmonton is in Treaty Six Territory in Alberta and the neighbourhood is home to a significant immigrant population that represents cultures from all over the world.
The 4.8m x 2.4m mosaic mural is located in the Community Room of the new Calder Branch of the Edmonton Public Library. It is visible from the library’s forecourt as people arrive at the library’s front entrance.
The mosaic design is based on tessellating patterns within a grid of equilateral triangles, inspired by new and traditional patterns that were contributed by local residents at workshops held around the Calder neighbourhood in Spring 2016. The final blended pattern represents the interdependence of parts within a whole. Triangles have been used in patterns across cultures for millennia and patterned tile layouts have been used in public spaces to indicate use, provide way-finding, add beauty, encourage social interaction and offer inspiration. Geometrically, equilateral triangles provide many shape and pattern possibilities; they can create both linear and radial patterns, and can be arranged into hexagons, stars, diamonds, zig-zags, curves, and other shapes.
In June 2016 we had the pleasure of spending time in Calder, Edmonton for a series of community pattern-making workshops that were organized with the generous assistance of Community Librarian Raquel ‘Rocky’ Mann from the existing Calder Branch Library. During our stay we met with the Northwest Seniors Society, the Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre, the Edmonton Africa Centre, the Al Rashid Mosque, Calder Elementary School, and the general public at the existing Calder Branch Library. We gathered over 200 patterns! Individuals and groups of all ages shared their favourite patterns with us and created their own tessellating designs using painted cardboard tiles and colouring-in templates. Each pattern was documented with the participant’s permission to be used as inspiration and input into the final design. We sincerely thank all of the incredible workshop participants – we are so grateful for the beautiful variety of intriguing contributions.
Back in our studio we translated the photographs of each community pattern into a digital file that could be repeated/tessellated. Over the following year the different repeating patterns were carefully organized, manipulated and woven together into one new whole. The Calder Community Mosaic uses a colour palette of ten vibrant colours that we selected, each inspired by the Albertan landscape: two different greens, two blues, two browns, yellow, orange, red, and mirror.
The Calder Community Mosaic is made from artisanal stained art glass. Each 2 1/4″ equilateral triangle tile was custom cut. Swirls and variations in the stained glass give each individual tile its own special character. During Fall 2017 we assembled the 4.8m x 2.4m mosaic into 30cm x 30cm panels. The panels were each numbered ready to be laid out in sequence, forming the final mosaic design. The Calder Community Mosaic was installed in the Community Room wall at the new Calder Branch Library in December 2017 and the new building is scheduled to open in early 2018.
You can see all of the community patterns generated at the Calder pattern making workshops on the Calder Community Mosaic facebook page .
For a behind the scenes look at how the Calder Community Mosaic was fabricated, shipped, prepared for installation, set onto the Community Room wall, grouted and given its finishing touches please check out our blog.
Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the creation of this project, including pattern-making participants from Calder Elementary School, Al-Rashid Mosque, Edmonton Africa Centre, Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre, Northwest Edmonton Seniors Centre, and the old location of the Calder Branch Public Library. Many thanks also to Community Librarian Raquel (Rocky) Mann, Calder Branch Manager Julie Woods, Calder School Acting Principal Cathie Bush, Glass Cutter Tim Long, and Tile Setter Csaba Bereczki. Thank you kindly to the people of Calder and the the City of Edmonton for your warm hospitality!
Photos with permission by: Raquel Mann, Calder Branch staff, David Gregory, Rebecca Bayer