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A KALEIDOSCOPE OF BUTTERFLIES – PROGRESS OF OUR LATEST ORGAN DONATION MEMORIAL SCULPTURE

First Concepts for PresentationModern digital communication is a wonderful thing! Before our first face-to-face meeting with the organ donation committee at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, we had already received photos of a potential location for the artwork and designed concepts that were revised a number of times. One concept, as Bournemouth is a seaside town, was to utilise seashells in a ‘Fibonacci’ inspired spiral.

Four selected butterflies - native to DorsetWHY BUTTERFLIES?

Initial feedback was, the committee loved the suspended spiral sculpture but preferred the use of butterflies instead of seashells. Reason being; when a patient is going through end of life care at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital images of blue butterflies are attached to drawn curtains to ensure the patient and visitors are left in peace.

Also, butterflies, through their ongoing life cycles, capture the idea of metamorphosis or rebirth. Therefore, butterflies link perfectly as a thought provoking visual metaphor with the theme of organ donation when associated with ‘the Gift of Life’ wording. And of course, as perfectionists, to reflect the region where the hospital is situated we chose to represent species of butterflies found at Dorset Nature Reserves as a creative starting point.

Fine tuning - butterfly shapes & patternsFINE-TUNING – BUTTERFLY WING SHAPES & PATTERNS

We designed four large-scale butterflies to be created from lightweight anodised aluminium, detailed patterns cut out of the metal to resemble the wing shapes and patterns of original butterfly species. The material and technique chosen ensures each butterfly will have strength for longevity and safety in a hospital environment whilst conveying a fragile, lacy and also a seemingly transparent beauty. To design each one took time; sketching out many shapes, then hand cutting the forms from thin card to ensure that each butterfly featured beautiful silhouettes that wouldn’t collapse when held up to the light.

Examining prototype butterflyCOLOURING

Each butterfly was never meant to be an exact depiction, but rather a creative representation. We chose four colourways, purple to blue to turquoise to green, to harmonise collectively and complement colours already in use at the hospital. So the next undertaking was to create four coloured patterns of shimmering iridescent colours that resemble the flash of a butterflies’ wing in its fluttering flight. Working alongside the specialists, Digital Plus, a complex technique was devised to individually print and lacquer these patterns onto the aluminium butterfly shapes so that they glimmer and shine in the barest of lights.

Creating the half scale mockupHALF SCALE MOCK-UP

We created a half-scale model to determine positioning and quantity of butterflies and cable lengths. This stage is essential before creating all components of the final sculpture!

TechnicalitiesTECHNICALITIES!

So many technicalities: choosing lights that will show up every section of the sculpture magnificently, choice of hoist so that the completed sculpture can be kept spotless, what type of scissor lift to use for installing as safely as possible, etc, etc. And of course, everything discussed many times with the hospital estates department and health and safety carefully considered.

Information wall plaqueINFORMATION WALL PLAQUE

To ensure all medical staff, patients and visitors to the hospital can fully understand the importance of the suspended sculpture now residing in the main atrium of their hospital we always design an additional wall plaque that succinctly explains it all!

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