{ Category Archives: Spark }

SPARK: Ene’s Installation Dispatch

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Three of the four mosaic murals comprising Spark.

We recently finished installing SPARK, a series of four 9′ x 12′ mosaic murals integrated into the walls of the planetarium at Chabot College in Hayward, CA. Symbolizing the spark of inspiration, of creativity and insight fostered through education at the college, the artwork also evokes the cosmos and spirit of scientific inquiry.

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Spark, detail

The murals are created from thousands of pieces of hand-cut glass, iridescent glass and mirror. The work explores the expressive potential of mosaic, with the purpose of creating intensely colorful, reflective  compositions that shift character as the light changes. At the beginning of the day, the gold highlights are most prominent in the red mural, but at dusk the iridescent blue details emerge.

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Spark, details

Culminating close to two years worth of design, planning and fabrication, the installation experience was exhilarating. Faculty, students and staff were so enthusiastic, it reminded me of why we commit ourselves to working in the public realm. One morning during the installation, a custodian came by the site at 8 AM; “I’ve worked on this campus for 20 years, and I’ve been waiting for something like this; I will love seeing these murals every day,” he shared. Scott Hildreth, a professor who teaches  in the planetarium, came by with a box of donuts for us on the very first day of our work on site; he later returned with his wife and children, who each added  pieces to the mosaics.

Heartfelt thanks to Alexandra Blatteis for her skill, patience, and sense of humor as she worked closely with me throughout this commission.

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Planetarium at Chabot College (prior to installation).

To read more about the development of Spark, click here and scroll down.

Special thanks to all those who contributed:
Diane Zuliani
Gary Goss &  Dave (G4 Fabrication Design & Consulting, LLC)
Henry Eakland
Debbie Bakal
Susan Ensign
Bonnie Volk
Samantha Blatteis
John Blatteis

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Spark Murals Installed

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Ene and Ali get ready to grout the four 9′ x 12′ glass mosaic murals comprising Spark.

Ene and Ali have been working with a small crew installing our Spark mural project at Chabot College in Hayward.  Comprised of a sequence of four 9′ x 12′ mosaic murals in colorful hand-cut glass, the project evokes the ‘spark’ of inspiration, and is permanently affixed to the school’s octagonal Planetarium. Ene has done a beautiful job managing this project and she and Ali have produced some truly magical murals that are sure to become a beloved feature of the Chabot Community College campus.

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Be sure to look for the full story from Ene when she completes the installation. Meanwhile, to read more about the background of our Spark Project, please click here and scroll down.


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Spark

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Ali Blateis, our Project Assistant, tacks down hand-cut glass on one of Spark’s panels

If you’ve been to the wowhaus studio in the past six months, you’d have noticed the neatly piled stacks of hand-cut, iridescent and mirrored glass everywhere that we’ve been transforming into a series of mosaic murals, called Spark, now nearing completion. The murals were commissioned by Chabot College in Oakland to be installed in their Planetarium this fall, as part of an innovative public art initiative spearheaded by Diane Zuliani, Instructor of Art History and Museum Studies at the college.

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One of four, nine by twelve foot, glass mosaic murals comprising Spark

Ene designed the four, nine by twelve foot glass mosaic murals to literally evoke the spark of innovation/insight/creativity so essential to higher education, and it’s been exciting to see the project take shape under her capable leadership. We are very lucky to have had the ongoing help of Ali Blateis, who we hired to assist in the fabrication and composition of the murals, whose skill, focus and good judgment have been invaluable to the success of the project. Working long days and spending stretches of time on the wowhaus compound, Ali has become like one of the family, and we look forward to working together on more projects in the future.

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Spark, detail

The murals are made in sections; each hand-cut piece of glass is tacked to a mesh substrate that will be adhered to a masonry board prior to installation. The masonry panels will then be permanently bolted to the exterior walls of the Planetarium after a final grout is applied in painterly gradients. Over the months, Ene and Ali have mastered using these unconventional materials, and the results are beginning to speak for themselves!

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Spark, detail


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