‘Glassy' New Artwork for the Children's Hospital
Two North East youngsters saw their imaginative artwork replicated in glass and permanently installed on the walls of the Great North Children’s Hospital at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary today.
Scarlet Gregory, 11, from Denton Burn and Kirsty Coulson, 12, from Washington were among a number of children to have submitted their artwork over the past few years whilst patients at the RVI. The lucky two were today invited to see their creative ideas displayed in the atrium of the Children’s Outpatients department at the new state of the art Great North Children’s Hospital.
Kirsty Coulson, 12 from Washington Scarlett Gregory, 11 from Denton Burn
The National Glass Centre in Sunderland was commissioned by the Newcastle Healthcare Charity to produce a collection of nine glass panels based on children’s drawings to form Phase 1 in the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s vision of creating a welcoming and unintimidating environment for children, teenagers, their families and carers – a far cry from the old, traditional image of hospital.
Commenting today, Mr Chris Blade MA (RCA), Senior Manager, Enterprise, at the National Glass Centre said:
“I was delighted to accept the commission from the Great North Children’s Hospital and had no hesitation in suggesting one of our highly experienced artists working at the Centre, Dr Kathryn Wightman, as someone whose innovative skills and techniques were perfect for the job.”
Kathryn, from Chapel House in Newcastle and ex-pupil of Walbottle Campus Technology College, is a graduate of the University of Sunderland and won ‘best newcomer’ in the Journal Cultural Awards in 2007 and North East finalist in the Shell Young Entrepreneur of the Year Competition. She also won the Creative Industries Category in the Sunderland Blue Print Competition. She recently gained her PhD from Sunderland University, funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council.
Speaking today, Kathryn, 28, explained the process of transforming the children’s artwork into glass:
“I began planning the panels at the end of last year and it took around eight weeks to physically manufacture them using a combination of water-jet technology and screen printing – quite challenging processes when applied to the material of glass and ones in which Sunderland University is at the forefront of research. Each panel is made up of four layers of glass, making it 12mm thick. The base layer is a continuous sheet of glass, the middle two layers are essentially a complete glass jigsaw which was cut out on the water-jet cutter and the top layer contains the screen printed details such as the text or facial expressions of the people in the drawings. Each panel underwent a total of five kiln firings from start to finish.”
Fast gaining a reputation as an internationally renowned glass artist, Kathryn is leaving the North East next week to start a new academic career in New Zealand as Glass Tutor at Wanganui Universal College of Learning.
L-R Ken Grey, Chairman of the Newcastle Healthcare Charity Board of Trustees, Chris Blade Senior Manager, Enterprise, National Glass Centre, the artist’s mum Rosalyn Wightman (Med Sec in Paediatric Neurology), Kathryn Wightman, Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive of the Newcastle Hospitals, James Bustard, Director of National Glass Centre
At a ceremony at the hospital today, Sir Leonard Fenwick CBE, Chief Executive of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Ken Grey, Chairman of the Newcastle Healthcare Charity officially thanked Dr Wightman in the presence of Scarlet and Kirsty, members of the Newcastle Healthcare Charity Board of Trustees and senior management of the National Glass Centre.
For further information:
Julie Gill, Communications Officer 0191 213 7945
Newcastle Healthcare Charity Julie.Gill@nuth.nhs.uk
Chris Blade, Senior Mgr, Enterprise 0191 515 5555 or 0191 515 5507
National Glass Centre 07956 36 9730
Dr Kathryn Wightman http://www.kathrynwightmanglass.co.uk/
Notes to Editors:
When the £100m Great North Children’s Hospital at the RVI fully opened in 2010, it brought together all children’s services under one roof, providing an unparalleled breadth of services – more than any other hospital outside of London. The hospital receives referrals from many other hospitals locally and nationally who do not have the necessary expertise to treat complex conditions. The hospital now houses an emergency department and trauma centre just for children, a special ‘penthouse’ for teenage cancer patients and stimulating, colourful furnishings and 3D interactive floor and wall projection systems that create fantasy landscapes all aimed at distracting children from uncomfortable procedures. Over 1,000 staff dedicated to children’s services work together in an environment specially designed to meet the needs of modern medicine.
The Newcastle Healthcare Charity (Reg No 502473) is one of two official charities which support the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The charities administer the many generous donations made by the general public to the hospitals, wards, specialties and departments of the Newcastle hospitals. These donations allow the hospitals to provide that little bit extra in terms of more sophisticated equipment, additional patient comforts, specialist staff training and funding research projects to develop new treatments and technologies to improve patient care.
- The National Glass Centre in Sunderland is a centre of national excellence supporting the production, education, presentation and enjoyment of contemporary glass. The Centre is happy to undertake commissions from local, national and international organisations and individuals. Please contact:
Mr Chris Blade MA (RCA)
Senior Manager, Enterprise
National Glass Centre
Sunderland SR6 0GL
Tel: +44 (0)191 515 5555
Direct: +44 (0)515 5507
Mobile: +44 (0)795 636 9730