Under the Clothespin: Sneak Peek

Back in November, I told you about Under the Clothespin, a new Mural Arts Program mosaic commissioned by REIT Management to enliven the dreary Centre Square subway concourse.

The mosaic, created by artists Miriam Singer and Emilie Ledieu, is a cheerful mashup of Philadelphia’s urban landscape that focuses on Centre Square, and interprets the personal geographies of individual Philadelphians.

Since late last year, the artists and their assistants have been hard at work transferring their design from concept to reality, and they’ve been kind enough to let me check in along the way.

In the fall, the artists and their team started work in a studio space at Kensington’s Viking Mills. They began by projecting the design at full scale and traced it in sections. Those tracings were used as guides to cut glass and piece sections of the mosaic. In addition to colored glass, the artists silkscreened some pieces with maps showing places near Centre Square, while others represent places that people come from or travel through to get to Centre Square. Ledieu estimates that for the 400 square foot installation, they used about 500 square feet of glass.

On site, the artists prepared the concourse’s tile walls and started installing the mosaic late last year. Thanks to warm weather and a protected site, the project has plowed forward on an ambitious timeline and the artists hope to finish in a matter of weeks.

Here are a couple of peeks into the process of taking the artwork from design to installation.

The Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple is one of the most finely detailed sections of the mosaic, and is made of up about 170 individual pieces of glass. (Photos of drawings on glass and pieces being assembled by Miriam Singer.) 

Septa bus, driving into the mosaic - (counterclockwise) from design, pieces, installation.
(Septa bus, driving into the mosaic – (counterclockwise) from design, pieces, installation.)

This SEPTA bus drives enters the mosaic from the east, and is one of the design’s many transportation-oriented features. Here you can also see glass pieces with silkscreened maps in orange and red.

Although there is a construction fence blocking off the site, the curious can peek through to see the installation in progress. On a recent site visit, I was talking with Emilie Ledieu when a woman looked through a crack in the fence to say, “Thank you so much for making our city prettier,” and continued on her way. If you want to see more images of Under the Clothespin, you can check the project Tumblr, or see some of my photographs from studio and site visits in the slideshow below:

Want more?:

Under the Clothespin: Fantasy cityscape at Centre Square [Eyes on the Street, November 9, 2011]

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