Public invited to make tiles for rail station

Photo courtesy of Leslie Herrick
POP team members were excited to get a look at the first tile mold they made using a Vacuform machine at TechShop in Allen Park. The mold is made of plastic that was heated in the Vacuform machine and stretched across a relief made of clay and balsa wood on medium density fiber board. The clay will be pressed into the mold to make tiles that will be fired in a kiln at Henry Ford Community College. From left are: Reem Aoun, Mary Charara, Khlid McDowell, Claire Young, Pop Instructor Mohamad Bazzi, Siham Saleh, Ali Bazzi (Mohamad Bazzi’s son), Mona Beydoun, Aleen Bazzi, Jack Davis and POP Instructor Wendy Sample.

DEARBORN – The Dearborn Community Fund and the high school Pockets of Perception student design team invite the public to help make tiles for the mosaic wall that will be installed in the city’s Intermodal Passenger Rail Station.

The station is scheduled for completion in late 2013.

“Take Part in the Art” half-hour workshops will be held Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 in the Mackenzie Fine Arts Building at Henry Ford Community College. The workshops are scheduled for 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

All are welcome to participate; however, reservations are required and children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. To reserve a spot, call the DCF at 313-943-5478.

“Pressing clay into molds to make tiles is a great way for community members to contribute to this piece of public art,” POP instructor Wendy Sample said. “Although participants may not be able to identify the exact tile they made, they will be able to say they had a hand in the mural-making process.”

The mosaic was designed by the POP team which is comprised of 10 students from Dearborn, Edsel Ford and Fordson high schools. The students have been working with Sample and co-instructor Mohamad Bazzi since September to design the mural and tiles in various patterns, sizes, and colors for the rail station wall.

Workshop participants will attend a brief presentation about the creative process used to design the mosaic tile wall. POP team members will demonstrate the mold process and assist participants in making a tile or two. Approximately 1,000 tiles are needed to complete the mural.

“When determining the theme and tile designs for the mosaic, the POP team carefully considered that the station is going to be a transportation gateway, welcoming visitors from near and far when they come to visit Dearborn and The Henry Ford,” Bazzi said.

Motion, energy, the historic significance of The Henry Ford across the tracks from the new rail station, and the impact that the station will have on the future of Dearborn were all elements the students discussed as they collaborated to design the mosaic mural.

To make the tile molds, the POP students applied wood, plastic and clay to make a relief of each tile design on medium density fiberboard. Then the team went to TechShop in Allen Park where they learned how to use a Vacuform machine to heat and stretch a sheet plastic onto each relief to create the molds that will be used in making the tiles on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2.

The clay tiles will be glazed and fired in HFCC Art Department kilns before being installed at the rail station in late 2013.

To make reservations to participate in “Take Part in the Art,” for more information about the POP project and other programs sponsored by the DCF, go to or call the DCF at 313-943-5478.