I imagined an abstracted landscape as a positive way of encapsulating all that has inspired my commission for the Hydrotherapy Pool glazed screens. (There are approximately 46sqm of glass combined in both screens).
Both Hospital sites were originally set in and adjacent to open fields and expansive views of countryside. Easy to imagine then how beneficial this must have been to those patients and staff who experienced this.
It is now commonly understood that exposure to natural spaces, planting and nature within medical and healing environments is of great benefit and assists in the recovery and positive experience of patients and staff alike.
This glass landscape is populated with recognisable motifs, such as flowers, deer and trees, woven together with abstract forms and repeating patterns. Local landmarks such as Kelston Round Hill also feature, as do references to the architectural decoration and built heritage of The Min and its archaic Roman Mosaics. However, the most visible motif perhaps is water, and more explicitly, the gestural movement of water as shaped by those taking treatment in the Hydrotherapy Pool. A shape made in water informed by the movement of a hand or leg. Abstractions of steam or mist appear to hover in this landscape. Water is contained within a bowl or pool. An elegant but dynamic abstract splash of water drifts across the whole of the East Screen. The connection to hot springs and flowing waters has shaped Bath into the World Heritage Site we see today.
I have been so impressed with the positivity and care of the medical staff delivering these services, I wanted to evoke this caring nature with visual clues within the work, which may express this. Growing flowers and creating gardens is a nurturing vocation. Water is an elemental part of this. Historically, The Min was built upon the grounds of the first Theatre in Bath, and the later extension built upon the formal gardens of Rectory House. Adjacent to the ChapeI at the rear of The Min is a small but lovely garden. Also in Bath, Gibbes Garden was a 15th Century apothecary garden growing medicinal herbs.
Combe Park had formerly been the site of the Bath War Hospital built in 1916 to provide beds and medical services for WW1 Casualties. There was a small pond and a stream ran nearby. Patients and staff were encouraged to grow and maintain flower gardens & were rewarded with prizes.
I was offered a session at the Hydrotherapy Pool at The Min as a way of understanding a little more about the impact of water as a treatment. I am not a patient – I cannot experience this as many do on a daily basis, not I am I in the process of healing or tempering acute conditions. Patients vary from those with lifelong conditions, such as Ankylosing spondylitis and others suffering from chronic pain, to physiotherapy in the pool following operations or broken limbs. All I can aim for is to add to the interior space with something visually interesting / beautiful / stimulating to this brand-new environment, which makes the experience for both staff and patients a pleasant and perhaps an intriguing one.
The following images make up the final draft artwork approved for production by the RUH. The Magenta/Pink colour is used to indicate clear/fully transparent glazing with no artwork. White represents sandblasting and / or Ceramic Etch techniques. All other colour is created using Screen-printed Ceramic Colour fired onto the glass. The artwork is applied to the two inner faces of a double glazed sealed unit. There is a subtle overlaying of motifs, which means that the artwork is slightly different as seen from the interior, than the exterior. These drafts are created initially via hand drawing and assembled and finished in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.