On 28 August 2019, I spent the day at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. I was there to see my large digital murals installed in the new Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit by fitters from Vescom. It was very exciting, but a nerve-racking day! Seeing the designs that I create at 10% ‘on screen’ come to life at full size is always daunting, but miraculous too.
The fitters set about installing the other artists’ work first. The history wall by David Mackie and Heather Parnell and the in-patients murals by Anna Bruce. Then it came to mine – a 22m mural that runs down the main corridor and into the Family Room – which was a little trickier to fit! It went up panel by panel. With the height being almost 5 metres in parts and not others, it couldn’t be installed in a uniform way. Some changes to the mural size had also occurred quite last minute, so the complicated shape became all the more complicated, especially as the glazing sections couldn’t be installed first, which would have been the ideal situation.
Gradually, piece by piece the design came together. I just sat on the floor and watched the mural come to life, while working on some new designs for my next commission in Malvern. I was relieved when the first section was done, the rest gradually took shape… and by midnight the job was complete.
I was so pleased with certain aspects, such as the wall in the kitchen, and how the mural flowed into that room and could been seen through the glazing panel. I had created many wall coverings before, but not so many glazing manifestations. This job was particular tricky as the glazing had to be printed by a different company due to fire regulations. In the end, the glazing was fitted the next day.
All in all, I am thrilled with the end result. It is calm and gentle, and doesn’t compete with the interior. The original design brief: ‘bringing the outside in’ was perfect for the client and the setting. The colours complement the space and the design leads the eye through the heart of the unit. I would like to thank the UK’s leading arts and health consultancy Willis Newson for involving me in this project.
Since installation day, I have returned to the unit to see the staff and patients happily using their new space. It was quite emotional to see it. The unit makes many references to the old Y Bwthyn Cottage Hospital that was so fondly thought of and respected. I really do feel privileged to have worked on this project and I hope my murals give peace and pleasure to a great many people.