The Vessel - CODAworx

The Vessel

Submitted by Ilan Sandler Studios

Client: City of Toronto

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $185,000

Project Team


Ilan Sandler

Ilan Sandler Studio Inc.

Art Consultant

Mireille Bourgeois

Ilan Sandler Studio Inc.

Industry Resource

Daniel Brazzell

Ilan Sandler Studio Inc.


The Vessel: A large sculpture of a water-carrying vessel made from 4 kilometers of stainless steel rod. The length of the rod is the approximate distance that Taddle Creek ran from Taddle Creek Park through downtown Toronto to Lake Ontario. I have reconstituted a memory of the buried creek by referencing its length and bending the steel rod into water-carrying arteries that form a vessel. Water flowing from the Vessel is stored underground to irrigate the park.


This sculpture of a water-carrying vessel is made from 4 kilometers of stainless steel rod. The rod measures the approximate length of Taddle Creek, which ran from Taddle Creek Park through downtown Toronto to Lake Ontario. The piece reconstitutes a memory of the buried creek by referencing its length and by bending the steel rod into water-carrying arteries. The sculpture’s surface is porous, allowing one to see light slicing through the stainless steel rods that create its volume. Water flows from the top of the rim, over its surface and cascades onto the ground, creating sound that drowns out the noise of traffic. The piece is like an over-flowing pitcher, evoking the creek’s long history as a source of sustenance. Water from The Vessel is stored in an underground cistern and used to irrigate the park. Vessels have accompanied all peoples for millennia, and are often seen as a surrogate for the body; the desire of all civilizations to anthropomorphize these water-carrying vessels is evidence of their importance to our survival as a species. The ability to harness the flow of water both for physical and imaginative nourishment has been an inseparable part of the evolution of all societies.


Many of my projects have involved sustained collaboration with design and architectural teams, municipal governments, public institutions, and private companies. I am comfortable handling multi-phased projects that require careful planning and execution from design and manufacturing to the allocation of funds, and I have a network of professionals with whom I work closely to complete projects on schedule and within the constraints of a set budget. Sandler Studio’s core staff includes Ilan Sandler (artist, designer, fabricator, facilitator), Mireille Bourgeois (Art Manager), Daniel Brazzell (certified welder and fabricator), and Jennifer Brittan (writer, research associate). My aim as an artist is to create works with a long life, weathering extreme temperatures in exterior settings, and in regular contact with the public in high-traffic locations. Just as important as their physical longevity, my artworks are designed to serve as local landmarks, helping to create community cohesion and remaining visually and conceptually engaging for residents and visitors.

Additional Information

The Anishinaabe Nation or Ojibway-speaking people of the region would have drawn water for sustenance from many sources, including Taddle Creek. They also drew inspiration from water in the development of their creation myths, one of which says, “the rivers that run underground are the veins of Mother Earth and water is her blood, purifying her and bringing her food. Mother Earth implies reproduction, fertility and life.” Although The Vessel represents a container, it also acts as a fountain, relating the creek’s historical significance as a life-sustaining water source to the future pleasure of the community.