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Cynon Valley Hospital sculpture commission

The sculpture I was working on most of last year has finally been installed in the reception area of the new Cynon Valley Hospital in South Wales. I created a huge 50m square plaster frieze, as usual, making imagery by direct casting from real life objects and materials.

The new building replaces two old hospitals at neighbouring villages Mountain Ash and Aberdare -
Mountain Ash and the river Cynon below.......

The brief was to reference the history and people of the Cynon valley, the original hospital buildings and the activities carried out by hospital staff.

I met with nurses, doctors and other staff to ask  them what motifs they thought could sum up the most important aspects of  life in the valley.  I delved deeply into local archives to uncover some fascinating pieces of history and of course I walked around and around both villages with my camera to try and pin down the most quintessential aspects of the built and natural environment.

I'll be doing a back story post to explain the motifs I chose and how I made them  but all of the imagery was cast from real objects and when necessary I used a special mould-making technology which allows exactly proportioned expansion of the original object.

I created a design from silhouettes of the motifs to be etched on to the glass panels of the stairs and balcony

Of course I had to have a tassel - one of my favourite three-dimensional objects  See my other use of tassels:  concrete+plaster tassels   +  concrete ghost collaboration  +  

The hospital - it's in a great setting, surrounded by hills and next to the river

Welsh doll - of course!


Don't break any bones!  This pair of pliers and scary looking saw are used to cut through plaster casts!

The Cynon Valley at Mountain Ash - on one of the rare days the sun came out during my visits (South Wales not really know for its sunny climate) - but the landscape is wonderful, a narrow, winding river valley flanked by rugged bare hills and an atmospheric background for some great architecture, especially the  elemental old chapels of which there are many in both villages.
Anyway, lots more about all this in my follow up post giving the back story to this brilliant commission which was a wonderful opportunity to develop new work, meet some fantastic people and have a lot of fun in the studio!

See my previous public sculpture commission in Cardiff


  1. No wonder it took so long, it's monumental, what a fantastic commission. How good they let you use the bizarre Surrealist mix of images, it reads as dream sequences and has that slow motion I love so much in the closing minutes of Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, a movie I have quoted from before! Etched glass too!! South Wales looks good in your photos, what interesting quality of light and colour, think I should plan a visit there. Have you added a plaster saw to your tool kit, I have inherited a ship's surgeons instrument box, I remember seeing the strange contents when I was young but it is locked and I have not found the key yet, when I do should be an inspiration!!

  2. Congratulations, what a great commission for you.It looks fantastic, very beautiful and I love how delicate it all looks but on a big scale.


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