31st May 2024

Kate Bond is the artist behind the artwork for the Snowdrop Appeal spaces. Kate has previously worked on artwork for the Dyson Cancer Centre at Royal United Hospital in Bath (as shown in the pictures), the Severn Hospice in Telford and the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

Here she explains more about her nature-themed work and how she's choosing the plants that will feature in the new, calming artwork, helping bereaved families make positive memories with their baby.

I am working on a scheme of artwork for Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity to help create more sensitive and caring spaces for families that have sadly suffered devastating pregnancy and baby loss. The project all began with and radiates from the Lavender Suite, where families can stay for several days if they wish, and spend time with their baby. My aim is to create one large mural outside the unit, complemented by several bespoke and coordinating wall pieces and cushions for the lounge and bedroom; enhancing the newly refurbished space. Additionally, there will be a circadian light box to help connect families with the outside world. This is an important feature for the space as there are no external windows.

Kates work in the Dyson Cancer CentreMy work is known as biophilic, which is all about increasing connectivity with nature and as a result enhancing our physical and mental wellbeing. Simply put, it is about bringing the outside in. For this project, I have thoughtfully and sensitively chosen plant species, considering both their meanings and form. The aim is to create an atmosphere that offers a comforting embrace from nature, providing warmth and reassurance at such a difficult time. I will combine plants from different season and growing preferences, mixing cultivated plants with wildflowers. This way I hope to minimise emotional triggers and connections where possible.

The design scheme will extend into several other spaces used by the Snowdrop Team, including two quiet rooms (one at St Michael's Hospital and another at Weston General Hospital), one delivery room and two rooms on the ward. In the early pregnancy assessment clinic waiting area I will create a repeating pattern wall covering that will be applied to one wall. It will sit alongside co-ordinating blinds. In the ward spaces I will design bespoke blinds that depict plants growing up from the bottom and artwork for the walls that are printed onto a natural material like birch plywood. As a result these clinical spaces will feel warmer and more homely. It is also great to include more sustainable materials into an environment that is typically so un-environmentally friendly.

Kate Bonds artworkSome of the plants I have chosen for the artwork include the Alisma Plantago (or the English water plantain), which has a beautiful white flower and is delicate and tall, providing height without being too dominant. I also love the soft rounded shape of the cotinus leaf, which could help soften the background. I plan to include small additions of plants that already connect to the names of the spaces, such as lavender, rosemary and snowdrop - each with its own meaning in plant mythology. I am keen to explore adding helebores, camassia and grasses into the compositions and I have a particular fondness for Solomon's seal, a peaceful and elegant plant. At the moment I am currently drawing the Polygonatum Curvistylum 'pink form', a rare shade-loving plant from the Polygonatum family. It has such gorgeous tiny flowers which seem perfect for such a sensitive project.

Over the next couple of months, during the growing season, I will continue gathering plant references and draw, then gradually the designs will begin to take shape.

With your support, we can transform eight hospital spaces in St Michael's Hospital and Weston General Hospital for families experiencing devastating pregnancy and baby loss.

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 Thanks to photographer Amanda Jackson for the photos of Kate's work.