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Installation of Blankets by Erica Stocking on West Village District Energy Centre

Artist: Erica Stocking
Location: West Village Park & Energy Centre (10357 133 Street)
Category: Civic collection
Year: 2018

About Blankets

Look for folded, draped, and wrapped blankets at Surrey’s new West Village Park and Energy Centre! Just as water generated from the Energy Centre gives heat to homes and businesses via underground pipes, so these blankets are a reminder of warmth the West Village neighbourhood shares through district energy. In addition to taking on familiar forms, the three fibreglass blanket sculptures represent states of energy: stored, waiting, and in use. The sculptures sit atop the boiler stacks on the roof representing a potential state of the boiler’s activity: back up, occasional, and heavy use.

A companion piece to this public artwork is 50 woven blankets that resemble the fibreglass sculptures. The woven blankets bring the message of the public artwork into residents’ hands in a real and accessible form. In turn, the sculptures are painted to resemble the woven blankets that use different colours to indicate how the heat production and distribution of the District Energy Centre works.

Together, the three sculptures and the woven blankets are inspired by the question: what is a contemporary hearth in an age of industrial fire? The artwork seeks to convey the warm sentiments of hearth and home across the diverse West Village neighbourhood and to symbolize the connection between West Village Park and Energy Centre and the warm interiors of residents’ homes.

The distribution of these woven blankets to homes, schools, libraries, and community centres creates a story that lets the artwork shift and change over time and geography. Like heat circulating through the neighbourhood, each blanket generates stories, conversations, uses, and connections. These “sparks” can kindle the fire of a warm and caring community.

Blankets evoke a sense of warmth without using fire. The artist says, “Perhaps a contemporary hearth does not involve fire at all, but is the sharing of space.”  In a simple way, this artwork translates the piping of the building as a carrier of warmth in a materially and visually tangible form.

About the Artist

Erica Stocking is a multimedia artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She has exhibited art since she graduated in 2004. In 2009, Erica completed the public artwork Yellow Fence at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby and, in the same year, was awarded Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Emerging Public Artist. In 2012, she completed Geyser for Hillcrest Park, a permanent public artwork made for the City of Vancouver in collaboration with Vanessa Kwan, facility staff, parks board, and various engineers.

Image credit: Woven blanket by Erica Stocking. This specific blanket is currently on display at Surrey Art Gallery for their Connecting Threads exhibit.