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.
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.
Spacemakeplace is very interested in Vancouver’s hidden streams. Check out this short video article by CBC’s Uytae Lee about the history of some Vancouver’s urban streams and daylighting initiatives around the world. For more information about Vancouver’s streams see our blog post Lost Streams of Vancouver .
Streams are nature's way of handling rain. About 50 of them used to run through Vancouver, but most were considered a nuisance and buried underground.It might be time to bring them back, says CBC Early Edition columnist Uytae Lee.More: www.cbc.ca/1.5111383Video: Uytae Lee/CBC Creator Network
Posted by CBC Vancouver on Thursday, April 25, 2019
The 39 mosaic panels are complete! A huge thank you again to Mike Hauner and the whole team at Interstyle Ceramic + Glass for their help and expertise. We look forward to working with them again soon.
Loaded onto a pallet for transportation to TTC Sherbourne the artwork weighs in at 1500 lbs.
Archiving spare tiles in the tile vault
The production of the Sherbourne Community Mosaic panels has gone really well and we have now nearly completed the fabrication phase of the project.
The design of each panel was created by blending together different geometric patterns that we collected from around the Toronto’s Sherbourne community over three weeks in March and April, 2018.
We are very grateful to the ~450 people of all ages (who live, work and go to school within a 5-10 min walk of TTC Sherbourne station) for participating at one or more of the 24 pattern-making workshops. Over 700 amazing triangular tile patterns were contributed to the project – Thank you everyone!
You can find a photo of every pattern on the Sherbourne Community Mosaic Facebook page. ‘Like’ the page to get future project updates.
Approximately 14,000 equilateral triangle ceramic tiles are needed for the Sherbourne Community Mosaic and each one has been hand-made from Earthenglass™, a blend of 100% recycled glass with clay and porcelain.
Twelve different colours of tiles have been specially crafted for this project. These colours were inspired by the paint palette of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson, who at one time had his studio in the Rosedale Ravine, near TTC Sherbourne before the station existed.
Each of the thirty-nine Sherbourne Community Mosaic panels has been fabricated and will be installed in smaller sections. The mosaic panels will be located throughout TTC Sherbourne and cover a total of 400 square feet.
There are up to forty-eight tiles in a section and each tile is laid by hand. We use a template to help copy from the original designs and a special jig that spaces the tiles evenly.
The tiles at the top and bottom rows of each panel are cut in half with a wet saw so that they will fit square.
After each section is face-taped together, it is given an identifying number that references a map of each panel.
The final stage of the fabrication is to carefully pack each section into boxes ready for transport to TTC Sherbourne for installation.
We give our special thanks to Judy Bayer for her generous support. Her hard work, helping to count tiles and piece the panels together, has been greatly appreciated!
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.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been completing the fabrication of the approximately 14,000 custom ceramic tiles needed for the Sherbourne Community Mosaic. The final artwork, to be located throughout Toronto’s TTC Sherbourne station, will total 400 square feet in area. The equilateral triangle tiles are hand-made from Earthenglass™, a blend of 100% recycled glass with clay and porcelain and are produced by Interstyle Ceramic + Glass in Burnaby, BC.
We’ve developed 12 bespoke colours for the mosaic tiles that have been inspired by the paint palette of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.
Thomson once had a studio in the Toronto neighbourhood where the mosaic will be located.
After the tile bisque has been fired once in the kiln the coloured glazes are carefully sprayed onto the triangles. The tiles are weighed to ensure the correct amount of glazing has been applied.
The glazed tile bisque is loaded onto trays ready to be feed into the giant kiln
The giant kiln.
Even though they look delicious these tasty treats are not for eating.
Grey and Red tiles lined up to get fired.
The glazed bisque tiles are then re-fired in the kiln at temperatures over 1,200 degrees Celsius – that’s HOT!!!
The beautiful new ceramic tiles are now ready to be assembled into the Sherbourne Community Mosaic!