This project originated with the question of how to get the community to come to downtown Victoria. Shylene Schlackl and Ellen Henry, owner of Out of Hand Gallery, thought a community art project in Market Square was just the answer. In March the planning for a summer community mosaic project began. By April, The Rock Solid Foundation, Market Square, Out of Hand Gallery and were all behind the idea of Mosaic the Market 2003.


Week One

Over the next few months, through the course of several discussions, we realized the ideas of Mosaic the Market could be replicated all over town, creating Mosaic the City. The first initiative for Mosaic the City, is Mosaic the Market 2003. With summer fast approaching, our first "Community Unity" art project began.

The paint-in at Buccaneer days with The Rock Solid Foundation (our first Lead Associate Partner) was our first design workshop and we had many interesting community interactions;

  • A father and daughter painted together.
  • Two sisters, a family of four and an artist all created "Painted Inspiration."
  • Shaw TV interviewed Jane Duncan and Kim Coyle about the project.
  • One artist, new to Victoria, spent the day sharing and creating with us.

Almost 30 people participated in the first design workshop - all in all a great success!


Design Workshop 1


Week Two

We started Mosaic the Market by holding community design workshops where we encouraged participants to draw designs of what Victoria meant to them. We asked them "What do you like to do in Victoria? Where do you like to go? What do you think about when you think about Victoria?"

Market Square had asked us to try and use designs that had historic reference, since the square was built in the late 1880's. To follow this direction Shylene decided to create three mosaics, one for Victoria, one for British Columbia and one for Canada with the thinking that history would fit into these themes. We thought that all the mosaics would need to have some similar elements so they would be part of a collective. We decided to mosaic the perimeters of each mosaic in similar fashion, with old china mosaicked frames.


Design Workshop 2

A family from Holland designed some images. The two sisters started drawing after being given materials and brief direction. We thought the girls might be mute because they said nothing to us - just smiled, laughed quietly and looked at each other . When their dad arrived we realized they didn't speak any English. Before long, their brother and mother had joined in. We taught each other a few words, our names and "Thank You" in English and Dutch. Funny.



The first three workshops were spent painting and drawing with the community. Information about the project was included in a few "Out of Hand Gallery" advertisements as we had no money for publicity. We had some air-time on local television stations, and posted information about the project in several community events calendars both online and in print. Fortunately word of the project started to spread.


We received about 45 entries and lots of ideas to work from. We spent the days explaining the project ideas to the people and encouraging participation from all ages and skill level.


The main purpose of the

projects is to bring people together who would not otherwise have the opportunity to share with each other.

The design workshops provided this environment almost immediately.


Design Workshop 3

CH TV came and questioned us regarding Public Art at the new arena. It then aired that night and the CH Anchor man gave the project a great plug!



At the design workshops in Market Square we gave people the opportunity to talk and share with each other in a relaxed creative atmosphere. These days were full of energy, sharing and new friendships. We had more interesting community interactions:

  • Peter, an artist from The College of Art, dropped by to get details on the project and will be back to help.
  • Anne Swannell, a local mosaicist, came and drew a few images.
  • Dorothy Coombes, a local elder, drew some wonderful flower images. She and a young woman from Saskachewan sat across from each other drawing and engaging in conversation. They shared stories about their work and talked about themselves. They spent almost 25 minutes together. It was a lovely interaction and it demonstrated the purpose of this project.
  • Plus a family from Prague participated.




Week Three

The first day of mosaicking went well, although we had some issues finding volunteers to work on the project. We were fortunate enough to have some help from two local, professional mosaicists who helped create the first of the mosaic outlines. They also helped nip and tile the ceramics for use in the mosaics then began glueing the pieces to form the frame of the 'Dogwood'. Wondering how the images would turn out in mosaic. Shylene had some questions regarding the complexity of the images she had chosen to mosaic. Shylene decided that we simply needed to make the pieces smaller to achieve the detail necessary to convey the images. When the professionals had to go, Shylene was left to direct all the participants in the project. Unfortunately this was more than one person could handle as the people needed clear and constant direction.

Luckily, we had three original design workshop participants return to learn how to mosaic. It just so happened they were the artists who drew the images we had chosen to mosaic. What are the chances? They were very eager to get started, and they headed into the mosaic world, "no holds barred." They used all they could find in our 'use what you have" stack of materials made up of everything from typical china and tile to beach glass, stained glass, driftwood and stones. As we were still introducing the project to many passers-by Shylene wasn't giving the proper direction to the mosaickers. She failed to check on the sizes of the pieces being used. The resulting mosaic came out rather abstract.

Mosaic Workshop 1

By the end of the design workshops we received enough images to start the first mosaic: The British Columbia Dogwood. We chose four landscapes of the west coast to fill in the details of the dogwood flower.

Fortunately everyone really enjoyed the abstract mosaic and we received lots of positive feedback. We decided to keep the rest of this mosaic rather simple, so as to keep the original idea. To stay true to our "use what you have" theme, we put a broken knick-knack in each corner of the mosaic to represent the abundance of bugs all around us.

Interesting community interactions

One lady came and wrote a poem. She was interested in the project because she lives in the Mosaic building on Fort Street.

A women and her daughter just moved here from the mainland. The mother and her mother used to make mosaics over 20 years ago. They will be coming to help.




One of the other things that kept Shylene distracted from giving the proper direction was Shaw TV. Scott Earl came to interview her about the project and the ideas behind Mosaic the City. It was very exciting to be on TV again for this project.


Mosaic Workshop 2

Anne Swanell's dove was chosen to go into the nature section of the Canadian Maple Leaf Mosaic.

We had a new game plan; to go slower and show people how to choose their materials; and to nip the pieces small enough to be able to follow the original designs.


This day we started the second mosaic: "Canadian Maple Leaf"

First we framed out the maple leaf in red to fill out the majority of the panel. We framed in the maple leaf to leave enough space around the perimeter for the china frame. We then broke the leaf into three sections; one for culture, one for the people and one for nature - each representing what we considered to be important aspects of Canadian life.



Working with others to create a fun, relaxed and funky atmosphere is what the team of Mosaic the City wants to provide to Victoria.



During this week of mosaicking we continued to gather design ideas as we still didn't have enough images to finish all the mosaics.

We did gather a few new designs that made it straight into the Maple Leaf mosaic, a peace sign, which was suggested as an image from a young man and yin-yang symbol, which was drawn by another young man. The fact that two rather young (both under 10) men gave us images of peace and harmony, encourages us that we are going in the right direction.

Then we chose an "Ohm" image drawn earlier in the project and two hugging hearts drawn by our lead volunteer Robyn. These four images then became the four corners of the Canadian Maple Leaf mosaic.


A couple from Jerusalem worked on one of the hands in the Canadian mosaic. The outline of the hand is Shylene's. It was the gentleman's second time in Canada and the lady's first.

At the same time, two local teen age girls, started mosaicking the peace sign.


Mosaic Workshop 3

We integrated portions of thirteen designs to make up the total image for our "Victoria- Cadboro Bay to Sooke" mosaic.

In keeping with our "use what you have" theme, we have incorporated many different media into this mosaic. We started by using a long piece of cement board, then used an old wooden frame to help frame the mosaic design. We then used a broken martini glass, some old dishes, a few broken knick-knacks, fridge magnets, a broken cat dish and of course tile to create the final mosaic.


We started on the design implementation for the "Victoria- Cadboro Bay to Sooke" mosaic.

First we drew a rough sketch of the design bringing the thirteen images together in one then a few participants copied the images onto the cement board