Artists create Lasting Impressions in new Kerr unit

SEVEN artists were putting the finishing touches to inspired work at the new £4.1million Margaret Kerr palliative care unit at Borders General Hospital this week.

Jedburgh ceramicist Clair Norris’ colourful mosaic wall panel, Lasting Impressions, went up in a day room on Tuesday.

The artist held workshops for the public who created up to 200 of the tiles used in the patchwork effect panel which is impressed with fabrics and other objects, including a wedding ring, names, leaves from trees planted in memory of people and other “lovely things”, said Clair.

She added: “People shared their stories and we have been able to do something that reflects the community spirit involved in the unit. It’s been a great experience.”

Edinburgh-based artist Kate Downie expects to finish her mural of Leaderfoot Viaduct in the unit’s entrance by Tuesday.

She said: “I’m working so hard that I am thinking on my feet all the time. It takes intense concentration. I’m enjoying the challenge! My aim is to give people pleasure and to encourage them to re-see something that they are utterly familiar with in a new light. I am very honoured to be making a new work of art for the unit and delighted to be making art in this context of healthcare.”

Innerleithen sculptor Angela Hunter made two bronze Border Leicester lambs to stand a metre high on Swinton stone in the unit grounds: “They should look really natural, as if they have jumped up there, the way you see lambs do normally,” she said, adding: “It’s a really nice group to be working in and I hope we can make the environment in the unit even nicer.”

Long-established artists Annika Sandstrom and David Kaplan of Lindean Glass, Selkirk, have created a free-standing glass panel which Annika was installing in the window of the family room yesterday.

She explained: “It’s a mediative piece in white and greys. It will absorb the natural light and it will change depending on the light and the colour of outside.”

Using dichroic glass, which contains metal and reflects certain colours, Edinburgh-based artist Keiko Mukaide is creating a glass panel on top of reflective paint along a corridor and her main piece will be a glass discus above the nurses’ station.

“The panel is a scene from the River Tweed. I want people to feel it and to feel a nice, calm feeling,” she said.

Originally from Japan but based in Scotland for the last 20 years, Keiko lost her father to cancer in her homeland seven years ago.

“If you can help or support people in the same situation, it just gives a nice feeling. I think this is a way artists can contribute to people,” she said.

A vibrant three-metre collage depicting the Borders in one of the unit’s lounges is the creation of Selkirk artist John Berry.