Tewkesbury Hospital – main waiting room glass artwork.

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    Tewkesbury Hospital main waiting room glass artwork.

    Public art work for Tewkesbury Hospital’s main waiting room.

    The ‘Tewkesbury Tapestry’

    The main waiting room of a hospital can often be a place where visitors may not only have to spend a lot of time, but a place where they may also feel anxious and fretful. Therefore, my aim here was to create an artwork that would be simulating enough to draw the visitor in and to allow them to drift off into another world for a brief while.

    The town of Tewkesbury is historically rich, from Saxon times to present day, and on receiving this commission I knew that I had to incorporate this wealth of history into the artwork.

    Through a few community workshops I not only learnt a lot of this history, but I also heard personal anecdotes from the older members of the community which gave me a real flavour of the place and a time gone by. I also learnt about the immense pride and love the townspeople have for their town which in turn motivated me in to wanting to create something that the townspeople could resonate with.

    I came up with the concept of the ‘Tewkesbury Tapestry’ in glass, a kind of contemporary take on the tapestries of old. As in the courtyard panels above, I used the confluence of the two rivers, the Severn and the Avon as the main theme for the artwork. However, here, the rivers and its bubbles become the story tellers of Tewkesbury, meandering through its long history, and to set the scene for the backdrop of the tapestry I used the two rambling roses from the ‘Wars of the Roses’ (one red and one white) which finally became the Tudor Rose.

    This artwork is full of information and visually busy which I hope will keep the visitors occupied and distracted enough whilst spending their time in the waiting room. The research and design for this piece was very time consuming, but the more I learnt, the more connection I felt with the place and its people, and the more enjoyable the whole project became.

    • James Goodman
      February 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Reply

      I think the idea of a glass ‘tapestry’ is superb, and I particularly like that this piece would engage and take people’s minds off what can often be a most stressful experience. I love the detail, which both explores local narratives, drawing people in, and the idea that, like a river, it has this eternal quality, reminding us of our connection both to the past and to the future, our connection to place, just as a river flows from its source, confluences, shapes the communities it flows through and thence to the sea, only to return as rain on the hillsides.
      I also liked the way you put this together, through talking to the local community and engaging with them. There’s that extra sense of ownership that cannot come about through just placing one’s own design without consultation into such a key space.

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