The Urban Eddy

Submitted by Carmella Jarvi

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Client: Historic South End (now, South End), Megan Liddle Gude, Director of South End

Location: Charlotte, NC, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $6,747

Project Team

Artist

Carmella Jarvi

Brushmark Studios, LLC

Printing

Dustin Batson

TPM Color Lab

Photographed glass for hi res printing

Melody Cassen Creative

Photograph final project images

Mitchell Kearney Photography

Overview

Carmella Jarvi’s water glass rounds in translucent vinyl transform the CLT Powerhouse Studio and inspire one’s daily commute. Jarvi collaborated with people from Historic South End (now South End), City of Charlotte Urban Design, and other artisans around her vision of creating custom studio kiln glass rounds to be scaled up for this project in a material that has an immediate visual impact, is affordable and long-lasting.

The original glass was photographed and printed on 1.5’, 2.5’, and 4.5’ translucent vinyl installed on glass doors/windows of three sides (street, alley, light rail/Rail Trail) of CLT Powerhouse Studio in South End, Charlotte, NC. Each of the six glass windows/doors install areas is approximately 16’x24’. TPM Color Lab printed and installed. Photos by Mitchell Kearney Photography.

In summer 2017, Jarvi proposed her idea to activate a — then empty — former Trolley Museum building with her abstract water-inspired vinyl rounds based on her water glass. Whether on foot, running the Rail Trail, in an automobile, or whizzing by on light rail, her design has transformed one’s experience in this rapid growth area of Charlotte.

Goals

Historic South End hosted a call for ideas. Jarvi’s goal was to activate the building from all three sides, with her design integrated with the existing architecture. Whether on foot, in a car, or riding light rail it would grab one’s attention.

Unknown to artist, the City of Charlotte Urban Design was in the process of reusing this former Trolley Museum as a hub for urban planning and connecting community in a fast-growing area of Charlotte.

Megan Liddle Gude (Director of South End) loved Jarvi’s idea. Although the artist worked closely with those using the building, her plan did not change from the original sketch to the final install.

Planned to be eye-catching and stunning inside and out (the building has large glass walls on three sides), as well as by car, foot, and light rail, people from all walks of life enjoy this iconic piece.

Water is universal, regardless of socio-economic, country of origin, etc. We know places with blues and water themes have a positive effect on people. (The Urban Eddy name was a nod to the area in which the building is nestled, as well as urban planning issues surrounding water.)

Process

Although final idea didn’t change from Jarvi’s first proposal, the artist attended many meetings with community and urban design staff. She shared glass samples (and listened to people's feedback about the glass/designs) throughout process.

Jarvi and her collaborators (including photographers and printing company) worked together on a dynamic and transformative public artwork for that area (that has been booming since) with a primary goal to create a vibrant community gathering space.

She worked closely with Megan, especially, and others on this CLT Powerhouse Studio public art project. Ultimately, the artist used the micro-grant funds for Bullseye Glass raw materials to create new custom water-glass rounds for this project.

South End fully funded remaining budget items for lasting, quality installation — including photographer to capture water glass rounds for high-end printing, the digital formatting of those files, and paying TPM Color Lab for the printing and installation of the entire project. Later, South End added a vinyl door wrap about the project.

Although Jarvi’s first public art project, The Urban Eddy, was non-traditional as a micro-grant idea, she approached it like all of her work with professionalism, focusing on community and quality throughout.

Additional Information

Final image is of Jarvi’s original water glass rounds created for The Urban Eddy. (Arrangement shown is in her better known wall-mounted composites style.) She exclusively uses Bullseye Glass. Her technique is based on a number of kiln firings, and cold working steps in between, until she gets the final look she’s after. For wall mounted glass, she only uses Hang Your Glass professional hardware. This was Jarvi’s first public art project and not a typical process/budget. Even though it started out as a micro-grant idea, from the first sketches to installation, it’s a been a great success and has become an iconic placemaking piece in that area of Charlotte.