The Tile Project

A Symbol of Life Inspired by Chris Borton

The tile project was inspired by Chris Borton’s dynamic approach to life and many conversations with him when he was diagnosed with cancer in the earlier part of 1996. Chris wanted to create a symbol for the fight he was about to undertake as well as something to represent the great challenges others face in life. More than this, Chris envisioned the tile sculpture as an expression of the enduring strength of our community with its overriding love of dance, music and each other.

Over several sessions, many people joined into this creative endeavor – young, old, dancers, musicians, family and friends, in order to build this expressive representation of Chris’s philosophy and passion for life.

The meaning of the project is epitomized by Chris’s own words, written into the tile on top:

The deck, like the circle of life, constantly adapts and grows. This round dedicated to the things I hold dearest from it: Love, Dance, Friendship, Music, Community. These are building blocks of a foundation to last forever.

As exemplified by Chris and his ability to live life to the fullest through all of its complexities, joys, sorrows and changes, the project has many facets:

  • The solid base which represents the foundation of our community and the land
  • The tiles with many colors, styles, and languages describing our feelings and thoughts of love and joy
  • The blank wooden redwood pieces to represent and provide space for new words and new people
  • The shadows cast by the sculpture that change with each day and each season
  • The rotation of the sculpture that symbolizes the challenges and solutions we face
  • The surrounding creek and forest that varies and grows throughout the years
  • And finally, the deck beyond, where Chris danced, laughed, played his music and joyfully gave and continues to give his loving gifts to all.