China Terrace

Patterson Webster
China Terrace   2006­–ongoing
China shards, copper tubing, cement, pine, metal cutlery and candelabra, ceramic plates and napkins, wooden goblets and window frames, iron bed, moss, sticks, slate, rocking chair
Collection of the artist

The China Terrace is a site-responsive installation that conjures the ghost of Glen Villa Inn, a summer resort hotel that once stood on the property and was destroyed by fire in 1909. The work was inspired by the discovery of china with the Glen Villa Inn crest buried in this location. By mixing this china with china from her own life, the artist honours both historical and personal pasts.

At the entry to the installation is a welcome mat, created with shards of hotel china and plates used by the artist’s family during summers in a nearby cottage. A low stone wall surrounds the space while wooden frames and copper tubing on the front and back sides of the terrace suggest exterior windows. Concrete bricks embedded with china shards and edged with slate mark out the walls between imagined rooms. Copper tubing and painted wood suggest a staircase leading to an imaginary second storey.

At the centre of the installation, more shards embedded in cement create a rug underneath a poured-concrete table that has been set for a formal dinner. The plates on the table were used by the artist’s family for many years, a physical representation of how the family’s history has become part of the history of the site.

Nestled in the corner of the “bedroom” is an iron bed frame, covered with a patchwork quilt of moss. The hotel was a popular destination for visitors from the American South, particularly those from Maryland and Virginia, where the artist was born and raised. Thinking back on her experience as a Southern girl falling in love with a boy from North Hatley, the artist has surrounded the bed with plants whose names suggest a summer romance: maidenhair ferns, a wild clematis known as virgin’s bower and bleeding heart.