Spacemakeplace is celebrating five years since the installation of ‘Whereness’. Located near the Langara /49th Avenue Canada Line Station, ‘Whereness’ was commissioned by Mosaic Homes for the City of Vancouver Public Art Program in 2016.
‘Whereness’ provides a tactile link between the area’s geological past and its current condition. The bottom boulder of the sculpture is a granite glacial erratic, deposited at this address thousands of years ago as a huge ice sheet receded up the Fraser Valley. This very boulder was scanned and replicated six times, then stacked to form a visual puzzle.
The sculpture acknowledges the practice of piling rocks at certain points along pathways to guide travellers crossing the landscape. This simple custom is still common across cultures around the world.
On the anniversary of our COVID-19 life, we want to share some feel good news from 2020. With proceeds from the sale of “Come Together” (2020), we were able to donate back to the St. James Town Community Corner, near TTC Sherbourne subway station. “Come Together” is a bespoke, glazed ceramic tile mosaic (0.6m x 2.0m) commissioned by Louis Vuitton.
“Come Together” (2020) glazed ceramic tile mosaic (0.6m x 2.0m) Louis Vuitton. Yorkdale, Toronto.
The St. James Town Community Corner was one of the hosts to the original community pattern-making workshops that Spacemakeplace held in 2018 to gather pattern inspiration for the TTC mosaic. The donation from Spacemakeplace will be used in a program that offers employment to local refugee women to prepare meals for the elderly and vulnerable in the community over the COVID-19 crisis.
Store designers for Louis Vuitton contacted Rebecca last spring interested in acquiring a new work to be included in the Louis Vuitton international art collection. “Come Together” (2020) is displayed alongside new artworks by Toronto-based street artist BirdO, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, at the new Louis Vuitton Canadian flagship store located in Yorkdale Mall, Toronto.
Thanks to FORSTER and Rainer Kraft from Kraft Consulting for their recent photos of the colourful acoustic panels that have now been fabricated at Forster’s factory in Waidhofen, Austria. Later this summer (2021) these panels will be installed along side 356m of Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) between Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing and Lynn Creek in the District of North Vancouver.
The public artwork, MERGE, will feature twenty naturalistic colours representing a selection of local flora, fauna and landmarks specific to the Lynnmour community and area. The ~620 powder-coated aluminum panels have been carefully configured to produce a giant site-specific spectrum designed to be viewed by both passing traffic and residents in nearby communities.
In December 2019, after months of careful planning and preparation, everything was ready for the final installation of the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic. The installation of the three mosaic walls took seven days.
When all the custom tiles had been extruded, baked, glazed, re-fired and ready, we began assembling the Maple Ridge Community Mosaics.
The mosaics are prepared in small sections that are numbered and correspond to coordinates on a large map. Each of the ~14,500 custom made tiles are laid by hand, carefully following the design and using special templates to make sure that the tiles are evenly spaced. After each section has been laid, it gets checked, covered with a layer of clear face tape, coded, mounted to a protective card and boxed ready for transport to Maple Ridge.
The Maple Ridge Community Mosaic is installed in three locations inside the newly renovated Maple Ridge Leisure Centre; the main reception area, the waiting area outside the change rooms and also at the shower wall on the main pool deck. Careful measurements are needed throughout the entire design and installation process to make sure that all three mosaics fit as precisely as possible onto the renovated walls.
We worked closely with Interstyle Ceramic + Glass to develop unique ceramic glazes to match the twelve Maple Ridge Community Mosaic colours as closely as possible. The twelve colours used for this project were selected from the palette of landscape colours we received over Fall 2018 from public photo submissions.
Mixing 12 bespoke colour glazes and firing the ~14,500 tiles needed is a complicated task and Interstyle are industry experts.
Interstyle is a family owned and operated tile manufacturer located in Burnaby, BC. They have been in operation since 1977 and are among the only tile manufactures remaining in Canada.
The Maple Ridge Community Mosaic will use equilateral tiles specially made for this project from Earthenglass, a tile produced from powdered recycled glass and locally sourced clays.
Following the public pattern making workshop series held across the City of Maple Ridge during February 2019 we returned to our studio to work on the next stage of the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic, the Design Phase.
We had collected and documented approximately 540 unique triangular patterns during the public workshops and now it was time to study them all and consider ways in which we could blend as many of them together to form a cohesive whole.
During the workshops we had encouraged participants to use groups of themed colours that represented the seasons and this helped us arrange different patterns together. Over a six week period we tested hundreds of combinations of patterns and colour combinations before we settled on the final design.
Once the final design was approved by the City of Maple Ridge we were ready to begin the next phase: fabrication…almost!
All of the tiles for the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic need to be custom made for this project. To make sure we ordered the correct numbers of coloured tiles to cover the 410 SF wall spaces inside the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre each of the 14,000+ tiles in the mosaic had to be counted first!
The Maple Ridge Leisure Centre is an important hub for the neighbourhoods it serves. Our new artwork intends to reaffirm the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre as a shared place where the wider community interacts daily.
The Maple Ridge Community Mosaic is created from content gathered from artist-run community workshops. Our role, as lead artists, is one of interpreters of the research and to create a new patterned design that represents the unique fabric of the local Maple Ridge community. Traditional and contemporary patterns and motifs created by local people have been woven together and combined to form the final artwork.
In February 2019 we held community pattern making workshops with local groups at:
● Saturday 9 February
○ Maple Ridge Public Library (Repair Cafe)
● Wednesday 13 February
○ Maple Ridge Leisure Centre (Parents and Child Playtime)
○ Harry Hooge Elementary School
● Thursday 14 February
○ Chartwell Willow Manor
○ Maple Ridge Public Library
● Monday 18 February
○ ACT Arts Centre (Family Day)
● Tuesday 19 February
○ Kanaka Elementary School
● Thursday 21 February
○ Kanaka Elementary School
○ Thomas Haney High School
During these public workshops we collected and documented approximately 540 unique patterns. We had a wonderful turn out and we collected amazing patterns from local people of all ages. For more information and images about the workshops and the project see our Facebook page.
Maple Ridge community members were asked to submit photographs of their local landscape to the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic Facebook and Instagram pages to help inspire the colour palette for the new public artwork to be located at the newly renovated Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.
Based on the ~150 public submissions we received over Fall 2018, we selected twelve representative colours to be used for the project.
The thousands of cardboard tiles we made for the following community pattern making workshop series were carefully matched to these same twelve colours.
We organized the mosaic colour palette into smaller, seasonally-themed palettes and then rotated through the palettes at each public workshop to ensure that the all the colours were balanced and would work well together.
Thank you to everyone online who submitted their beautiful images of sunrises, sunsets, alpenglow, winter mornings, giant forests, lush meadows, sublime lakes, mighty rivers, and native wildlife and wildflowers. The images below show how your images helped to inspire the mosaic colour selection.
The colours used for the new Maple Ridge Community Mosaic are inspired by the colours of the local Maple Ridge landscape.
Using posters, Facebook promotions and the Instagram hashtag #mapleridgecommunitymosaic we invited community members to submit photographs of their favourite seasonal colours.
Over the Fall of 2018 we received ~150 beautiful images.
From these landscape photos we created a new colour palette for the custom mosaic tile glazes.
More to come…
Thank you kindly to Edmonton’s AVENUE MAGAZINE for the article in their August edition about our Calder Library Community Mosaic. We’re very proud to have worked with the Edmonton Arts Council on this community-themed project.