Giving birth to creativity

Artwork helps to relax mums-to-be at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

The work of an American artist is helping to brighten the walls of the 16 birthing rooms at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The wall panels, which aim to make the labour suite more welcoming and help distract from medical equipment, are now complete and the finished results have been welcomed by staff and mums-to-be.

The vinyl panels were designed by Ava Blitz, a visual artist whose commissions include a huge mosaic wall panel at Philadelphia International Airport.

She said the inspiration for the work, which was chosen by local staff from 40 submissions, was nature and the green space surrounding the hospital.

She explained: “I have chosen natural colours which are both soothing and ‘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 so I have also tried to incorporate this in the work.”

NHS Forth Valley’s charitable arts and wellbeing co-ordinator, Babs McCool, added: “Patients have noticed the panels and they certainly make the rooms more welcoming and add a wee bit of colour to the walls.”

The wall panels, which took several months to make, are wipeable and cleanable to comply with strict infection control standards. They also form part of NHS Forth Valley’s wider arts strategy which aims to involve patients, service users, staff and artists in a range of arts projects. This includes creating artworks for a number of areas within local hospitals and health centres and developing a programme of arts exhibitions and events with a range of partner organisations including Creative Scotland and Artlink Central.

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