Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shelley Miller's Ceramic Quilts

Shelley Miller, with Structura Habitata

This week I met installation artist Shelley Miller at the CBC. We were participants in a workshop there, organized by ELAN (the English Language Arts Network), about "Getting Your Message Out to the Media". Happily, we were in the same group of four assigned to do a joint presentation.

The group chose Shelley's recent project as the topic of our "pitch". In the photo, you can see Shelley standing in front of her ceramic mosaic, which has been installed in the soon-to-be-opened McGill University Health Centre, or as we know it here in Montreal, the MUHC. When visitors enter the Royal Victoria pavilion, they will be met with this monumental work. It is one of 11 commissioned works to be unveiled with the opening of the hospital in April 2015.

Structura Habitata measures 8 meters high and 7 meters wide. Shelley worked with a ceramics manufacturer to screen images onto ceramic tile. She wanted to reference the traditional quilt, with its associations of comfort and warmth, and chose textile-type prints. The hexagon shapes are like patchwork, but also like cells or honeycomb, and included in the mosaic are images of bees, working together to sustain the community. Birds and flowers reinforce the theme of life, of nature, and we can also see snippets of Leonardo's anatomical sketches and notes. The hexagon is sometimes used as a symbol of the carbon molecule, the building block of life.

Heather Dubreuil, It's All That 

I am reminded of the large quilt that I made for the stairwell of the Hudson Medi-Centre. It measures about 90" in height and width. My concept was not unlike Shelley's, as I wanted the "log cabin" structure of the quilt to reference the cooperation that was involved in building the centre, and to use the associations of warmth and comfort inherent in the medium.

Tissu Urbain 

In Quebec, all publicly-funded construction projects are required to allot 1% of their budget for art or culture. Ceramics, mosaic and glass are often the chosen medium, because of their durability.

Detail, Tissu Urbain

Here are two more of Shelley's recent projects, both referencing traditional quilting.

Tissu Urbain measures 2.5 m x 8. It was made for the Gare Saint-Michel in Montreal North.

Below are images of 5 Quilts, made for Centre d'accueil Marcelle Ferron in Brossard, Quebec.
They measure 52" x 52" each, and are made of porcelain, ceramic mosaic, and glass mosaic.

To see detail shots of these mosaics and to learn more about Shelley, please visit her website.

5 Quilts - Chintz Tapestry, with detail

5 Quilts - Starburst, with detail

1 comment:

Dianne Robinson said...

I look forward to hearing about the CBC workshop. And thanks for introducing Shelley. Great work!