Week 7 of Open Studio at the Sherbourne Health Centre

With seven weeks of open studio behind us, and two more to go, I’d like to offer some reflections. Mosaic is a medium that requires time, careful attention to detail. In that regard, it’s more closely related to embroidery or quilt work, than to painting. Some have described it as meditative. Unlike fabric arts, the materials we use are hard — ceramic glazed wall tile, some porcelain, and a bit of glass. Despite the nature of the materials, however, we’re able to “paint” in tile and work with elements of perspective, depth, texture, and shading by applying and mixing forms including broken “mosaic” style (smashed and hand nipped), with straight (wet saw) cut tile, which produces a more stylized formal structure.

More than two hundred community members have contributed to building this work to date. Here’s a staggering figure: About 2000 hours have been invested into building of this large-scale mosaic to date — and we’re not done! This rough calculation is based on community members (about 250) contributing a cumulative average of 40 hours during each open studio, with approximately 40 open studio session over the duration of the project. To put this into context, one person working working a full-time job (40 hours per week) would spend 1760 hours at work in one year. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: Many hands make light work.

Every contribution is valuable, and I’d like to acknowledge a few people for their specific contributions. Tristan R. Whiston and Jay Stewart, thank you for spending many hours cutting tile on the wet saw down in the basement, along with your work in studio. Katie Yealland, thank you for photo documentation work, and for the many hours you’ve spent in the studio building and offering support. Chantelle Gobeil, thank you for tag-teaming with me on design elements that require a lot of attention to detail and precision work (and for your infectious laughter). Clare Nobbs, thank you for championing this project (as early as 2008 when it was just an idea). Rafaela, Daniel, Heidi, and Jay, thank you for your good work as apprentices. And a special thanks to the Sherbourne Health Centre for being such a wonderful organizational partner, and to the citizens of Ontario through the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council for your generous support.

We’re looking forward to celebrating this new public artwork at a Reception and Unveiling party on Tuesday June 21, at 7pm.