We’re into the seventh month of our improv sampler, which means we’ve passed the half way point!

(If you’re new to it, details are here)

We’re taking a break for curves this month, and using an image for inspiration that you might not know much about, but are a fun part of Vancouver history. We hope you’re inspired by the rhythmic grid of squares.

Sidewalk Prisms are also known as pavement lights (UK) or vault lights (US). They were set into sidewalks to allow natural light to go into the spaces below. In downtown Vancouver, it was common for business owners to extend their basements below the sidewalks, since they were being taxed for that space anyway when the city was first incorporated. Use of them became less important when electrical lights became more accessible, but there are still a few locations in Vancouver where you can see the remnants of original vault lights.

Christine Hagemoen has a super informative blog post about Sidewalk Prisms in Vancouver that you can read here. 

The photo we’re using this month is one of Christine’s, used with her permission.

(Sidewalk Prisms were originally clear, to allow the light in, but the manganese dioxide that was used to remove the effects of impurities in the glass “solarizes” over time when exposed to UV light and eventually turns purple!)

For more info about Sidewalk Prisms, read the blog post linked above and check out this wikipedia post about Pavement Lights. Most of the info I’ve included in this post comes from one or the other.

Here are a few samples that your guildmates made, but how you interpret the photo is entirely up to you!

amy’s interpretation

Arita’s interpretation

Bring your blocks back to the July meeting to show them off and inspire others!