Tag Archives | raccoons

The mosaic murals of Jingletown’s “Rue de Merde” (and more!)

Last weekend I took my first of two classes at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland. I definitely added to my arsenal of fundamental skills and knowledge, which is always a good thing. We created a few quick and dirty pieces that were focused on process and technique rather than aesthetics. Needless to say, none of them came home with me.

On Sunday morning I arrived a bit early and took advantage of the chance to wander the neighbourhood surrounding IMA. I’m sure glad I did, because I got to see the “Rue de Merde” – a little strip of gravel path and vegetation (presumably where all the neighbourhood dogs go to do their business?) that is decorated with a long wall of murals, both painted and mosaicked.

So, without further ado, here is a brief photographic tour of the Rue de Merde and more!

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Double lazy Susan…what does it mean?

When I was home in Kitchener for Christmas, my aunt and I were chatting about me making a lazy Susan for her. Since my parents have what’s known in layman’s terms as “the world’s slowest internet…ever”, I whipped out my phone (I rock an Android, in case you were wondering) and we browsed through my mosaic flickr stream to get a sense of what kind of style and colours she was drawn to. You know, for a girl who has never owned a cellphone before (and who generally has a strong aversion to obnoxious public use of them), I’m finding mine very handy!

Anyway, once back in Ottawa, I dutifully made the trek out to Ikea to pick up a lazy Susan (a journey I generally try to avoid at all costs, as I find it rather soul-sucking). A few days later, while browsing through the thrift store around the corner, I found another (smaller) lazy Susan. I asked my aunt which one she preferred, and her answer surprised me: she wanted both! (One for her, the other for a friend.)

The back-and-forth process of coming up with designs for the mosaics was new to me. My only other commissions had been relatively simple: one was a mashup of two mosaics I had already made, and the other was simply translating a logo into mosaic form. In other words, less “artistic freedom” for me. But these lazy Susans were different. I had a few shapes, styles, and colours to use as a point of departure, but then it was up to me. Truth be told, the freedom made me a bit nervous! But in the end, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it might be, perhaps because my aunt was a very easy-going “client”.

Lemon-lime mosaic for my aunt’s friend

Lazy Susan with meandering lines for my aunt

I tend to associate each mosaic I do with the music, TV shows, or movies that are playing as I work. In this case, it was the final few episodes of Season 1 of Breaking Bad, a really fascinating episode of The Nature of Things all about raccoons, and the movie Food Inc. Also on high rotation was the soundtrack to Parenthood, particularly the Josh Ritter song that’s on it, which I’m pretty much obsessed with at the moment.

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