I had a Moment yesterday when I saw the front page of the Richmond Review newspaper, announcing that my design has been chosen for a proposed crosswalk in the heritage fishing village of Steveston.
The Moment was less about the win — although that was a nice bit of validation — and more about the physical proof that domestic crafts belongs in public art.
The design is a crosswalk that appears as fishnetting, in tribute to the historical importance of a booming salmon-fishing port village that was at one time branded 'Salmonopolis.'
It took some mining into my crafty background to problem-solve specific aspects of my idea, like how to elegantly join four net sections in the middle of what will be B.C.'s first 'scramble' crosswalk. My research involved digging through my old macrame magazines and re-learning some knotting I haven't done since my obsession with that craze ended in Grade 9.
Conceptualizing the crosswalk design required physically recalling the same activity as the Chinese, Japanese, First Nations and European residents who created the nets that filled the lofts that are now galleries, restaurants and museums. It also reminds me of the importance of literally 'playing with ideas.'
It's a subtle design, experienced chiefly by walking. Motor vehicles will miss it. But the real subtlety to me is the handiwork that informed it.
According to the newspaper article, this network will be catching pedestrians by October.