13 September 2017

indiviually coloured butterfliesJOURNEY TO THE SOUTH COAST

So … the butterflies are complete, each one individually coloured and lacquered then connected to a thin metal wire before being sealed safely inside their own envelope. The top hanging plate is fitted with electrics ready to be connected to the hoist already installed in the main atrium at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital by the estates department. Everything, including the information plaque, is wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap to keep safe during the journey down to the south coast.

hanging-the-top-plate-from-belowA BIT OF HEAVY WORK!

Installation starts after evening visiting hours. We wait for the last individuals to leave via the staircase before we can tape off the area and begin to lower the hoist in readiness to attach the top hanging plate and then fix the eight eyeball spotlights into their allocated apertures. Big thanks to Lottie (SNOD, Senior Nurse Organ Donation, at Royal Bournemouth) who turned up with three large bags of chocolates to give us plenty of energy during our night stint!

hanging-the-top-plate-from-aboveThis photo demonstrates how the vertical ‘lip’ on the top plate hides all the necessary electrics. It also shows the numbering so we knew exactly which butterfly to fit to which pinprick!

threading-butterflies-one-by-oneONE HUNDRED BUTTERFLIES

It isn’t until after midnight that we can begin to attach the butterflies. Every numbered envelope contains a single butterfly fitted with a different length of wire. Each number corresponds to a numbered hole the size of a pinprick on the top hanging plate. Really the only way to see each particular hole is by shining a torchlight through from above. It is that exact! So … it’s spectacles at the ready, utilise my previous curtain making skills, and begin this precise threading the needle type of activity!

crimping-butterflies-from-aboveEach wire thread is crimped and held into place from above before the next butterfly is selected.

hoist-going-upWhen all one hundred butterflies are in place it’s time to work the wonders of the hoist. It’s not until the completed sculpture clicks into the mechanics already assembled in the roof space that the lights come on – to accompanying “wows and ahhs” from all four of us doing the night shift!


12 September 2017

first-designsModern 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-butterfly-photosWHY 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.


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.


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.

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!


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.


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!


12 June 2017

blog-stages-of-design-20We have a number of projects where our initial ideas have been viewed, favourites chosen and agreed upon. Here is one of them depicting the beginnings of the next stage.


3 June 2016

Birds-galore!Here are a few more birds ready for installation.

Dunlin-in-Aged-BrassThis bird is a Dunlin produced in an Aged Brass finish.

Little-Tern-in-Aged-SteelAnd this delicate little bird is a Little Tern created in Aged Steel


18 April 2016

Cut-out Metal BirdsOur latest organ donor artwork has moved onto the next stage. We visited the hospital taking along many samples with birds created in two ways. Shown here is one style with feathers and outer shape laser cut from various metals including brass, copper, rusted corten and stainless steel.

printed metal effect birdsThe other style, as shown above, has been created with aged metal finishes.

Tony holds printed birdTaking along samples is of major importance when there will be over 100 birds fitted in this space! Significant choices had to be made: what style will view best from a distance, can the wall take the amount of fittings needed and what are the best fittings for this scale of project.

Paul picks up big birdThis photo shows the largest bird that will feature, which is an Egret, along with the consultant and principal leader of this project. Sorry, but I just have to quote what he said as this photo was being taken, which had us all laughing. “Paul picks up big bird!”


1 December 2015

Steel-seeds-all-sizesVisiting our specialist print and installation partners, Digital Plus, to go through final checks means that our latest arts project is only days away from being unveiled! The process to get to this stage is very enjoyable and comprehensive.

It all starts with the concept, this is my realm, whereby I try not to think about how ideas can be achieved, just be as creative as possible. I think this is why Tony and I work so well together, pushing the creative boundaries to their furthest point.

Steel-seeds-circle-styleTony then takes control, liaising with the printers, making exacting calculations, choosing just the right materials and colours, and at all times communicating with the client to check they are perfectly happy and that the space and all walls can contain the fixtures and fittings.

We then work closely with our partners and collaborators, who suggest alternatives when a process is unfeasible to create a beautifully finished end result that resembles the original design concept as closely as possible. And of course there is the upcoming installation! We work with specialists in this field for their expertise, attention to detail and care for safety procedures.

Karen van de Bospoort


18 November 2015

Metal-Seed-PrototypeHere are the first prototypes for our latest organ donation artwork. This project is well underway and due for installation early December 2015.


17 November 2015

Estuary Bird SketchesHere are the first sketches of estuary birds for our latest organ donation arts project.


11 February 2015

Map of Pool Riverside Park Printers ProofA large meeting was held at the weekend in Pool Village Hall to discus many local matters of interest. This included the first view of the Pool Riverside Park interpretation panel. This was produced as a printers proof to give the local community time for their comments. The completed Pool in Wharfedale Tour de France video – produced by our video artist son, Harry, was also available for viewing. Both projects have involved the local community and received some fantastic feedback – even from persons further afield!

The next stage for the Riverside panels is final print and installation in two locations around the park. Keep checking this blog for further details!


28 November 2014

We were approached by the Pool RGMC (Recreation Grounds Management Committee) to create an artwork, in conjunction with retired teacher Richard Parker and the children of Pool C of E Primary School, in the style of E H Shepherd’s 100 Aker Wood Map for the grounds of the local park.

E H Shepherd's map for Winnie the PoohThe land is owned by the RGMC and held in trust for the benefit of the residents of Pool and the surrounding villagers, but little use is made of the area by the residents of Pool save for events like Pool Feast and the recent Tour de France Grand Depart. The RGMC wished to re-brand and rename the area, Pool Riverside Park, and briefed us to create a logo that would fit the bill! To further encourage residents to make full use of the area they wished us to create two interpretation boards (maps) to be sited close to the access points to the park.

Pool Riverside Park logoOur first point of call was to walk the area of parkland, taking photos and sketching areas to create a scaled map. Not such an easy thing to do, as streams were almost invisible with their summer growth and paths took us backwards and forwards and round and around! This all helped though to create a first stage design visual of the map at full size.

Some areas to be depicted on the mapWorkshop dates were organised over three afternoons during term-time, so that all children of the school could help with this project. Along with the map visual we prepared sheets of images to inspire the children to complete pencil drawings of what could be included on the map: trees and other wildlife, recreational pastimes like dog walking, cycling, playing football and cricket, or simply just people enjoying the great outdoors!

Workshop session with children at Pool C of E Primary SchoolLed by Richard Parker we spent three very enjoyable workshop sessions with the children and their creative excitement led to some fantastic drawings! We also created a slideshow of ten landmarks around the park that we wished the children to name. We noted down all names that the children suggested – some very simple, some totally inspired – all to be later discussed, with final names chosen by the RGMC. This is why a simple green bridge is now called Kingfisher Bridge and a quite insignificant stream is grandly called Corn Mill Beck!

Richard Parker helps children choose names for areas on the mapBack in our studios I sifted through all the children’s drawings and chose the most relevant. These were scanned into my computer and scaled to the correct size before piecing together and printing out seven A4 sheets of combined drawings. I next used a black pen to trace over the children’s drawings on layout paper. These were scanned in ready to place on relevant areas of the finished artwork map.

Some children's drawings grouped onto 1 A4 sheetIn fact, I spent quite some hours piecing together the artwork for this detailed and imaginative map; adding 3D images to a map is not so straightforward as a standard aerial map. But, using the children’s amazing drawings was a joy and turned into a work of love! I also added my own drawings of areas that the children hadn’t chosen to draw, such as: Pool Bridge and Pool Village Hall. Names chosen were also added.

Part of the finished map before colour is addedNext stage was colouring in the various areas of the map, all created on my computer to resemble a watercolour paint effect. The feedback up to now has been fantastic, but you will have to wait to see the coloured in version on my next blog!