On Sunday, February 23, a year almost to the day since we held our first public workshop for the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic, we proudly returned to the freshly renovated Maple Ridge Leisure Centre for the Grand Re-opening celebrations.
The facility was open admission-free for the pool party, music, prizes, and other activities throughout the day. Mayor Mike Morden kindly gave us a special mention during his speech and we were especially honoured to be asked to join him along with other councillors and guests for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and for a piece of the official cake. For more information about the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic check out the City of Maple Ridge’s Public Art website.
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.
Community Mosaic on the shower wall adjacent to the main swimming pool at MRLC
Laser levels and spacers are used to make sure that the entire artwork is straight and evenly spaced
Sections of the shower wall mosaic are unboxed and prepared for installation
Tony applying fresh thinset to the waiting area wall ready to set mosaic sections
Rebecca calculating final measurements and custom cuts
Tony cutting tiles on the wet saw
Rebecca inspecting the waiting area wall
David and Tony hand-setting the edge details
Rebecca and Tony finishing the reception area mosaic
When all the custom tiles had been extruded, baked, glazed, re-fired and ready, we began assembling the Maple Ridge Community Mosaics.
The twelve custom colours for the Maple Ridge Community Mosaic
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.
Inspecting the reception area wall during the MRLC renovations. Summer 2019
Inspecting the waiting area wall during the MRLC renovations. Summer 2019
Inspecting the pool shower area wall during the MRLC renovations. Summer 2019
MRLC Maple Ridge Community Mosaic: Made to measure
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.
Triangle tile colour matching samples
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.
Interstyle Ceramic + Glass. Burnaby, BC.
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
○ Maple Ridge Public Library
● 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.