A labour of love

US artist designs wall panels for Scottish hospital birthing unit

US artist Ava Blitz is pictured carrying her carefully-packed samples together with NHS Forth Valley’s charitable arts and wellbeing co-ordinator, Babs McCool

Prototypes for artwork to adorn the walls of the 16 labour suites at Forth Valley Royal Hospital have just arrived from America.

The designs are the work of Ava Blitz, an internationally-renowned artist whose commissions include a huge mosaic wall panel at Philadelphia International Airport.

The move to soften the wall spaces in the labour suite attracted almost 40 submissions from artists across the UK, plus Blitz, who was the brief on a US website.

The entries were shortlisted and the artists interviewed to ensure they could meet the demands of the brief.

The images are designed to reflect nature and the outdoors

Explaining how she came up with her ideas, Blitz said: “I work a lot with the natural world and have chosen colours which are both smoothing and which ‘pop’, mostly greens and oranges, which give a luminous jewel-like quality. They’re abstract, but still recognisable 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.”

Making the panels that will eventually go onto the walls will take several months as they are being designed to be wipeable and easy to clean in order to adhere to strict infection control regulations.

“It’s a very unusual commission,” said Blitz. “But it makes a good story to say I am going to Scotland to design panels for birthing rooms!”

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

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