Working quickly in the shed beside his home on a Saturday morning, Klaus Joehle is surrounded by his mosaic creations.
Joehle creates realistic portraits of wildlife, old-country scenes, ying-yangs, compasses and other abstract patterns and designs by gluing various shapes and colours of tile together on a mesh sheet, similar to a window screen. The pieces of tile vary in size and can be as small as a sliver, which are much more meticulous and time consuming to paste together.
Working with all types of tile—that he cuts using a wet tile saw—including travertine, marble and granite, to create his mosaic artwork, Joehle’s diverse pieces can take anywhere from six hours to more than a year to complete.
“I don’t know how long it takes because if I put an hour to this I’d completely freak out…so long that summer turns to winter, winter turns to summer and your dog ages,” Joehle said with a laugh. “It’s a love/ hate relationship because it really takes so much.”
Joehle’s journey with mosaic artwork began after he took a job tile setting more than 20 years ago.
Having only moved to Port Alberni a year ago, examples of Joehle’s artwork are mostly found in his shop but also by stopping at the Rollin Art Centre.
Joehle’s “Chef Bagel” mosaic hangs on the front of the art centre, a piece he made in commemoration of his father and eventually donated to the arts council.
“My dad was a chef…my dad died and of course I have to reconcile all that and that’s the mosaic. I could never sell it because that’s my reconciling with my dad,” Joehle said.
Not only does the Chef Bagel honour his father but it is Joehle’s first piece made for the visually impaired—something he hopes to experiment more with.
“Everything is a different texture,” Joehle said.
Born in Germany, Joehle moved to Canada to live with his aunt and uncle when he was nine because his father, a chef, had a very busy work schedule.
Dabbling in many forms of art, Joehle has experience painting and he’s the author of five published books, most with a focus on love and meditation.