Client: Mill Woods Seniors, Library, and Multicultural Facilty
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $55,000
Aspen Zettel Photography
Milled Wood tells a story of time, place, and growth. Off-cuts of 2×4 spruce were cut, sanded, and stained to reproduce the illusion of Mill Creek Ravine- a place that is contextually rooted in Edmonton. Over 8,400 wood "pixels" were mapped out to create a sensory experience for the viewer. This 30 x 10 foot tapestry takes the viewer into the woods, where birch and aspen trees wrap around a wooded pathway to create a sense of calmness.
Creating calmness within a busy public area was my main intention for this project. Understanding the typology of the building and the users allowed me to utilize the warmth of wood to create a visual image of a forested pathway that is deeply connected to place. The mural is located on the second floor allocated for seniors activities and gathering. The artwork was created for people to gather around and take a second for reflection and quietness. Phenomenological characteristics of tactility, visual cues, and auditory sensors were also celebrated as the individual wood pieces came alive in the composition- making a two-dimensional artwork into a three-dimensional experience.
Working with the Edmonton Arts Council has given me the support system to perform each task of the process from conception to completion. As the artist and designer I presented my concept to the EAC and worked with them to ensure that the wood wall would work in the facility. The conservation team at EAC gave guidance on how to ensure the artwork was sustainable. Also, the City worked with me to ensure safety requirements where met for this interior installation. All of my public art commissions have been documented and constructed to form a professional aesthetic for commercial contexts. It passes through a number of interdisciplinary members and is supported though out its construction. A variety of things can happen along the way, and yet we succeed. I credit all of my team members who I work with for these successes.
The different thicknesses of wood create an auditory effect as these "sound pockets" capture any environmental noise and reduce it to create another layer of intimacy. The contrast between walking down the vast open hallway and sitting next to the mural creates an awareness of space within a sensory experience for the viewer.