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Precious Objects

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

Some years ago a long standing family friend  and close friend of my Dad was being treated for cancer. He and his wife had often been to Elgol on the shores of Lock Skavaig on the Isle of Skye. They loved this place. I too had been there and as is the case – and now slightly frowned upon – I picked up some stones from a stream bed. The stones were small, but smooth & beautifully polished to a honed satin finish by the action of water. They could be held in the hand and moved around. The feeling of them was somehow special and resonant. I still have them now, wrapped in a cloth bag for fear of damaging them. I sent one of these stones to Dad’s friend. In doing that I think we had a non verbal conversation at distance about place and memories. I like to think it was re-assuring for both of us.

I have always picked up stones. They represent something unique about place, time and experience. Geology is fascinating.

I live by the sea in Ramsgate on the Kent Coast. I walk on the beach most days. I have found many sea urchin fossils. Each has a unique story. Each stone can still trigger memories of where and when it was found, what the weather was like…was the tide in or out.

I have created work for several projects with Cancer treatment centres at a number of Hospitals, including Churchill Hospital Cancer Centre, Oxford and a Macmillan Cancer unit for Tameside General Hospital. At Tameside Hospital and found my inspiration on a 12 mile walk entitled “Journeys through the Landscapes of Tameside” – this walk eventually became the brief for the project.

Stewart Ramsden, my walking partner who compiled the walk, had also been a cancer patient at the hospital and was part of our project’s champion group. Our route was eventually described by an eccentric figure of eight. Wild Bank and Hollingworthall Moor from Godley – a 12 mile walk through town, suburb, farmland and moorland.

The following words were made from my notes on the day:

This is a walk

A meander, a physical experience or just maybe a day-dream

A walk is more often along a path

The path or footpath changes in colour, texture and topography –

but there is always a remembered route to follow or a map to guide you

or maybe a venture to somewhere new

There is a constancy in moving forward

Things seen on a walk are half experienced and half remembered

A vivid green hedge

A tyre track

A discarded toy

A cloud which looks like a tree, a stream which looks like silver, a flash of colour

Horizon merges with sky

This is a landscape with no fixed perspective

Sky reflected in water

A small stone becomes a boulder

An object picked up and carried in the hand along the way

Track marks in fields are gestural and dynamic

Distant buildings become a child’s building blocks

 The layersPatterns in brickwork

 

Our project for the new Radiotherapy Unit at Dorset Hospital was similarly inspired by a walk along the Jurassic Coast I made ten years ago. I was hoping to find myself an ammonite to take home. I didn’t find any, but I saw many encased in rock by the shore. I saw the Blue Lias beds that contain giant plesiosaur fossils. The layers are like drawers in time. Each opening to another world and perhaps another wonder. I was also allowed free time to spend in the Dorset Museum Archives amongst boxes and drawers and piles of specimen stones and fossils. The way these objects were carefully curated and stored – often in intricate patterns and collections of similar sizes and or type. was inspiring and reminded me of my collections at home and of how precious they are to me.  The artwork has grown out of this fascination. The stones I have created are imaginary in colour and pattern, although informed by nature. They are perhaps stones I would like to find. Stones I would hold in my imagination to remind me of journeys I have made and places I have been.

We have now had the approval and sign off on the artwork proposals following a recent meeting with key Staff and stakeholders this week. The deadline is looming. The new building opens on 12th December. The work has to be manufactured and installed before this date.

Draft Artworks for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

To create the digital work each element requires up to 3 copies of each shape. One blank, one black & white and one in colour. The black & white originals are a mix of hand drawn motifs and textures, which are then scanned and worked on in Photoshop. I create a series of related shapes and masks, which I can then combine with larger patterns, often in repeat.Colours are added at this stage. I will often scan objects such as found paper or leaves and work on them digitally. I take too many images in the street, of shapes of water on the pavement – or reflections in windows – or a small plant growing in a crack in the ground or on a wall. All these can trigger an idea for a pattern or story.

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

First Floor Reception Artwork for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Golden yellow Ginkgo sapling motif for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

First Floor Non Clinical Staff Room. Artwork for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Agate Stone colour motif for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Window 101 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Window 102 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Window 103 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Window 104 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Draft Artwork & Motifs for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Window 105 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Window 106 Artwork for Glazing Vinyl at Dorset County Hospital new Radiotherapy Unit. Image: Christopher Tipping

Autumnal sapling tree motif for Glazing Vinyl Dorset County Hospital. Image: Christopher Tipping

Dorset County Hospital – the new Cancer Unit Glazing Artwork

Image: Draft artwork with re-imagined stones by Christopher Tipping 2018

I have been commissioned to create artwork to be digitally printed onto optically clear vinyl for the external glazing of the new Cancer Unit at Dorset County Hospital. Dorset’s pioneering new cancer unit is under construction and is due to be delivered in 2018. It is being built and operated jointly by Poole and Dorset HospitalsMy approach has been framed by a research trip I made back in June 2008 to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and to Dorchester Museums Archive Collections and the Natural History Museum in London.

Image: Christopher Tipping- Jurassic Coast Dorset 2008

Image: Christopher Tipping- Display Box of Microfossils, Dorset County Museum 2008

Image: Found objects and natural abstractions for Dorset County Hospital Cancer Unit by Christopher Tipping

Ten years ago I created artwork for wayfinding and inlaid bespoke floor coverings for the corridors of the main hospital buildings and also for Maiden Castle House, which provides Psychiatric Services for the Trust. This original body of work, completed in 2010 was considered a resonant starting point for this new project in 2018 and has been instrumental in underpinning the artwork created for the Cancer Unit.

Alex Coulter, former Arts Manager, Arts in Hospital writing in 2008 said –

‘The artist, Chris Tipping, researched and recorded geological structures, fossils and land forms along the Jurassic coast as the basis for his designs. He made drawings on the coast and in Dorset County Museum’s collections and talked to geologists based at Southampton University to help inform his ideas.  Chris was interested in the idea that the floors in the hospital could be interpreted as the layers or strata of the coast with fossil like patterns embedded in them and fragments and elements emerging where different layers meet. They are inlaid into the floor at key areas such as lift thresholds and at the top of staircases to help with wayfinding while smaller elements break up long expanses of corridor. It was Chris’s idea to curve the edges of the flooring and to reveal sections of designs rather as you might see a fragment in the cliff. The technology used is sophisticated with laser cutting creating elements which fit together with no need for sealant in-between. His designs enliven what would otherwise be vast expanses of plain flooring and contribute to making the hospital environment more stimulating and appealing for patients – a healing environment’.

 

The following text was taken from the 2018 project brief by Alex Murdin, Arts Manager, Arts in Hospital, at Dorset County Hospital.

‘Initial consultation with patients and staff suggested that the theme of the Cancer Unit artworks should evolve around nature and light, “Letting in the Light”. Medical and psychological evidence is strong that natural images, textures, patterns and light are all beneficial for wellbeing and recovery . Contact with Nature has been reported to have psychological benefits by reducing stress, improving attention, by having a positive effect on mental restoration, and by coping with attention deficits.

Natural light is important to healing and wellbeing and patients with views of open spaces get better faster. As the views from the new Cancer Unit will be limited to other hospital buildings and urban Dorchester, art can provide an alternative view for patients through translucent imagery of landscape and natural forms on windows. The window vinyls must in any case screen off views of the interior from outside by passers-by and occupiers of adjacent buildings, as necessary for patient’s actual and perceived privacy and confidentiality without the need for blinds and the accompanying loss of light’.

Dorset’s pioneering new cancer unit is under construction and due to be delivered in 2018 is being built and operated jointly by Poole and Dorset Hospitals. It will deliver world class health care for our local communities. The project will develop cancer facilities for patients all across Dorset and bring radiotherapy services to Dorchester for the first time. The new facilities will be life-changing, particularly for people who have previously had to travel long distances for radiotherapy services in Poole.

The unit will serve people of all ages, who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as their families. Patients who use this service are likely to be distressed and for some people, they may be living with a terminal diagnosis. The unit will be home to new linear accelerators (LINAC) – the device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. It will be a multi-functional space offering life changing radiotherapy, consulting rooms and counselling rooms. The unit will also be used by support groups. The unit is being funded Dorset County Hospital Charity, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (DCHFT), Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and with a major legacy from the photographer Robert White, a local man who died from cancer in 2015′. 

Image: Draft Artwork for Dorset County Hospital Cancer Unit by Christopher Tipping

Image: Draft Artwork – Found & re-imagined stones for Dorset County Hospital Cancer Unit by Christopher Tipping

Image: Draft artwork for Dorset County Hospital Cancer Unit by Christopher Tipping