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 Deanna Pecaski McLennan’s kindergarten classroom, math isn’t limited to a specific block of time. It’s built into the environment and inseparable from everything her young students do. All of the math is infused with a sense of exploration, wonder, and joy.
Our public art project is mentioned in the chapter titled “Art Beyond the Classroom Walls”. “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts” is a series of 39 mosaics located throughout TTC Sherbourne station welcome commuters in the universal languages of colour and geometry.
Thank you to Deanna Pecaski McLennan and Stenhouse Publishing for reaching out to us.
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.
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.
After two long weeks at the end of October 2018, working through day and night, we are very happy to announce that “The Whole is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts“, formerly referred to as the Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic, is complete and open to the public at TTC Sherbourne in Toronto, ON.
We are very proud of the finished artwork. “The Whole is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts” is a series of 39 ceramic tile mosaic panels located throughout TTC Sherbourne station at the main entrance, Bloor Street concourse, both East and West bound platforms, and the Glen Road Concourse.
Sherbourne Street Concourse.
Each panel is a blend of geometric patterns that we collected from over 450 people from the local neighbourhood at a series of 24 community workshops held in March and April 2018. Kindergarten children to senior citizens who contributed over 700 unique triangle patterns to this public art project and this project is dedicated to them and the vibrant communities that merge together every day at Sherbourne station.
Pattern-making workshop at the Toronto Public Library St James Town Branch, March 2018.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Csaba Bereczki, proprietor of The Tile Setter Company, and his assistant, Marthonee ‘Kim’ Padua, for their tireless effort and professional dedication to making sure that we completed the installation on schedule. It was a near-super human feat and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Csaba Bereczki, proprietor of The Tile Setter Company (right), and his assistant, Marthonee ‘Kim’ Padua (left)
Rebecca priming the columns on the Sherbourne Street Concourse.
After priming the subway tile walls and skimming with thinset, the first sections of the 39 panels are adhered to the Westbound platform.
After every stage of the installation each panel was covered for protection until complete.
Rebecca reviewing the plans.
All work around the main Sherbourne Street entrance had to be completed between 2am and 5am while the station was closed.
Csaba laying the last tile section in thinset.
With a six-car train passing every 4-5mins, working in an active subway station was a challenging environment.
Midnight snack in the storage room.
David removing the face tape from a mosaic on the Sherbourne Street Concourse level.
Rebecca striping the masking tape bordering a mosaic on the Westbound platform.
Csaba and Kim grouting the mosaics at the Sherbourne Street entrance.
Csaba and Kim giving the mosaics a careful wipe down before the final completion.
David and Rebecca with Csaba Bereczki, proudly presenting the completed artwork to representatives from TTC on the final day of installation.
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic public artwork was commissioned by the Toronto Transit Commission as part of the Easier Access and Second Exit Program.
Thanks to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadow News for their recent article about our upcoming project at the renovated Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. We’re looking forward to the community workshop series with local groups this November.