Calder Community Mosaic
In 2015, our proposal for a community mosaic mural made from colourful glass tiles was selected by the Edmonton Arts Council for a new artwork to be installed in the new 10,000 sq. ft. stand-alone LEED® Silver certified Calder Branch opening in 2018.
Calder, Edmonton is in the Treaty Six territories in Alberta and the neighbourhood is home to a significant immigrant population that represents cultures from all over the world.
The large (4.8m x 2.4m) mosaic mural is located in the Community Room to celebrate the diversity of the Calder Community. It is clearly visible from the library’s front forecourt as people arrive at the library’s front entrance and is intended to offer a friendly invitation to all people in a universal language of colours and geometric pattern.
The mosaic design is based on tessellating patterns within a grid of equilateral triangles and is inspired by new and traditional patterns that we gathered from local residents at workshops held around the Calder neighbourhood. The final blended pattern represents community, togetherness, and the interdependence of parts within a whole. Triangles have been used in patterns across cultures for millennia and patterned tiles have traditionally 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 at a week-long series of community pattern-making workshops that were organized with the generous assistance of Raquel ‘Rocky’ Mann from the existing Calder Branch Library. During our stay we met with the North West Seniors Society, the Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Society, the Africa Centre, the Al Rashid Mosque, Calder School, and the general public at the existing Calder Branch Library and gather over 250 individual 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 their 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 then 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 carefully selected, each inspired by the Albertan landscape
- Light Green
- Dark Green
- Light Blue
- Dark Blue
- Light Brown
- Dark Brown
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 the Fall of 2017 we assembled the 4.8m x 2.4m in 30cm x 30cm panels. The panels were each numbered ready to be installed 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.
Thank you kindly to the people of Calder and the the City of Edmonton for your participation and for your warm hospitality!
Photos with permission by: Raquel Mann, Calder Branch staff, David Gregory, Rebecca Bayer