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School mosiac four years in the making

Published on

Cathy Dobson

The pieces are finally starting to come together. Literally.

A huge mosaic comprised of handmade ceramic tiles, pottery and glass is taking shape in Room 214 at Northern Collegiate and will soon be mounted on the wall in the school’s main lobby.

The mosaic project, led by art teachers Ian McLean and Trevor Jamieson, measures an impressive 12 X 8 feet and has approximately 11,000 pieces.

“This project has been very rewarding, more rewarding than most other art projects,” said Megan MacLeod, a Grade 11 student and Art Club member who has dedicated many hours to it. She helped create the ceramic tiles, glaze and fire them in the school’s kiln, draw a pattern on 12 sections of plywood and grout them into place.

It has taken four years already and is expected to be complete by the end of June. McLean and Jamieson are hopeful a crew will be able to mount the mosaic on a wall in the south-end foyer in time for September’s classes.

“This is something we’ll see every day when we come to school. It’s not a project we finish and hide away in a portfolio where no one can see,” said Art Club member Molly Inkpen, who is in Grade 10.

“And other students are going to see our work for a lot of years to come,” added Grade 11 student Joseph Iaccino as he cemented tile pieces to form a huge northern star.

McLean started the project by painting a small watercolour and showing the students how to translate it using mosaic tiles. About 80% of the tiles were handmade by the students, while pieces of china, beach glass, recycled clay, fused glass, and store-bought tiles were added in.

“It’s a very ambitious project,” McLean said. “I’ve been really happy to have the support of the students, parents and other teachers.”

A banner hung in the classroom invites those who contribute to sign. So far, there are 115 signatures.

The mosaic depicts an abstract aerial view of Sarnia with the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.  Northern Collegiate is marked in red glass with lines emanating from it to symbolize how graduates leave to follow their dreams, perhaps guided by the northern star at the top of the piece.

During its making, a group of art students travelled to Barcelona in 2014 to view the mosaic art of Antoni Gaudi, whose work inspired the project, said McLean.

When mounted in the foyer, the mosaic will be used as a recognition wall for plaques engraved with the names of the school’s 4Northern Charitable Foundation contributors.


Members of Theatre Sarnia are celebrating their big win at the Theatre Ontario Festival, where they earned top honours for Outstanding Production.

Director Holly Wenning took her winning team of actors and production crew to Oshawa where they competed for the annual Elsie Award.  Wenning’s production of The Clean House had already taken top prize at the Western Ontario Drama League Festival in Owen Sound.

The show’s Frank Canino and Chris Matthews won a special adjudicator award for their work. Diane Hadley won for sound operation on the show and Wenning was additionally recognized for sound design.

Do you know of a great story about Sarnia’s cultural scene?  Contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected].

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