Go Fish!

MAPEI products help volunteers beautify Washington hatchery with recycled glass mosaics

Among the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s hatcheries, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is one of the most frequently visited. Tours are regularly conducted at the hatchery – constructed in 1936 – during which visitors can see salmon return home to spawn. Community education programs are also held at the facility, as well as various fundraising endeavors.

Artist Cheryl Smith wanted to beautify the walls in the local salmon hatchery with colorful mosaics installed by community volunteers.
Artist Cheryl Smith is flanked by MAPEI reps Chris Anderson (l.) and Ed Cortopassi.

In late 2016, MAPEI representative Chris Anderson received a call from local mosaic artist Cheryl Smith, who asked if MAPEI could provide a system that would allow tiles to be placed over salmon-holding tanks at a local hatchery. Unfortunately, MAPEI determined that without the design specification for the tanks themselves, the company would not recommend installing artwork on the outside of the holding pens; therefore, MAPEI had to turn the project down.

A few weeks later, Smith called again. She said that the project was still viable, that she had found a new location in the hatchery for her mosaic and, because MAPEI had been so helpful, she wanted the company to provide the tile system.

The mosaic, simply named “Salmon,” serves a dual purpose. Not only does it brighten an otherwise drab wall, but it also helped to involve members of the community in the renovation of their own local fish hatchery. The fact that the artwork is a mosaic and required no prior art training or knowledge made it the perfect vehicle to bring the community together across all ages and abilities.

According to Smith, a key objective of the project was to minimize the impact on the environment, specifically the ecosystem of Pacific Northwest salmon. “Using recycled materials reduces potentially dangerous additions to landfills, keeping streams clean and the salmon population thriving,” she said.

An array of MAPEI products, from waterproofing to grout, were used in the project. 
The “Salmon” mosaic brightens a drab wall, and involved 100 members of the community in the renovation of their own local fish hatchery.

The recycled glass used in the piece was sourced from vendors around Washington. Local glass retailers Perry Stained Glass Studio and Northwest Art Glass donated stained glass. Pental Surfaces donated glass bubble rounds for the background that were collected from the International Interior Design Association’s Northern Pacific Zerolandfill event. In addition, Bedrosians Tile & Stone donated tile to the project. 

One hurdle for the project remained: The 76 sq. ft. (7.06-m2) mosaic would be installed by volunteers, so any products designated for the job had to be user friendly. MAPEI was on board to provide technical support and training necessary to use its products.

MAPEI representative Keith Haney went to the site and conducted a seminar on MAPEI’s Mapelastic 315 waterproofing membrane. MAPEI’s Anderson provided technical training by phone and email throughout the course of the entire project.

MAPEI products on the jobsite

Because the mosaic would be installed by volunteers, products designated for the job had to be user friendly. MAPEI provided the products and the technical support for the installation.

All of the products used on the project were applied by a team of over 100 volunteer artists who worked under the direction of MAPEI representatives. These products included Mapecem Quickpatch to patch and smooth the existing concrete wall, Mapelastic 315 for waterproofing, Adesilex P10 and Keraply (used together to produce a high-performance mortar), and Mapesil Tsilicone sealant for joints.

MAPEI Flexcolor 3Dgrout – in the color “Crystal Moon” – also played an integral role. Not only did this product complement the “green” goal of using recycled products, it also provided an iridescent-effect finish to the glass tile.

Mosaics were applied piece-by-piece, using MAPEI setting materials. 

The Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) mosaic wall project has been featured in several news articles for its artistry, creativity, community involvement and recyclable qualities. In addition, the project was submitted for the MAPEI North America “Show! Place! Win!” reference project competition and unanimously selected by the senior leadership committee for submittal to MAPEI’s international competition in Italy. MAPEI is honored to have been a part of this exceptional community effort.

The recycled glass used in the piece was sourced from vendors around Washington.