Giving Birth to Creativity

The wraps are off!  Prototypes for art work on the walls of the 16 birthing rooms at Forth Valley Royal Hospital have just arrived from America, courtesy of Ava Blitz, a visual artist whose commissions include a huge mosaic wall panel at Philadelphia International Airport. Ava is pictured carrying her carefully packed samples together with NHS Forth Valley’s Charitable Arts and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Babs McCool.

The move to ‘soften’ the wall spaces in the labour suite attracted almost 40 submissions from artists across the UK plus Ms Blitz, who saw the brief on an American website. The entries were shortlisted and entrants interviewed to ensure they could meet the demands of the brief. Staff were then asked to choose the art work they felt best represented the effect they were trying to achieve.
The entries were shortlisted to four, three of which were from Scotland but, after a presentation via Skype, staff plumped for Ms Blitz’s ideas.

Ms Blitz explained the inspiration for her work. She said:

I work a lot with the natural world and have chosen colours which are both soothing and ‘pop’ mostly greens and oranges which give a luminous jewel-like quality. They’re abstract but still recognizable as images from nature such as trees. I heard that the area around Forth Valley Royal Hospital once boasted orchards of apples and soft fruits and I have tried to incorporate this in my work. My intention was to create windows into the natural world which people can enter with imagination.  I also try for a sense of delight at the same time, with visuals which invite exploration.”

Making the wall size panels will take several months. They have to be wipeable and cleanable to comply with strict inflection control standards.She added:

 It’s a very unusual commission but it makes a very good story to say I am going to Scotland to design panels for birthing rooms!”

NHS Forth Valley General Manager and Head of Midwifery Gillian Morton said:

Ava was the one who measured up to our aspirations for the spaces. We were particularly keen to secure designs which related to the ambience of the hospital. Surrounded by beautiful woodland and a lochan, we thought her colours reflected the environment perfectly.”

The wall panels are intended to make the labour suite more friendly and inviting, and to distract from medical equipment.