Florilegium: Natural Health Service
A series of lightbox artworks for healthcare
This ongoing strand of the Florilegium series seeks to offer solace and reassurance in nature to support human health and wellbeing.
Since the first commission in 2018 to create an artwork for the Health Centre waiting room at Moretonhampstead, these works have brought the fragility and force of the natural world into the interior spaces of hospitals, hospices and health centres, offering a focal point for conversation, quiet reflection and imaginative connection with the world outside.
Each project has engaged healthcare professionals and other hospital staff as well as their families, patients and their visitors in a variety of collaborative acts, contributing personal stories and memories to each work.
Further reading: Great Ormond Street Hospital article on the healing power of nature, GOSH case study on Creativity, Climate and Health for the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance, and blog by Amy Shelton on the healing power of the imagination, part of Clod Ensemble’s The Power of Placebo
For commission enquiries and how this work can support social prescribing, please contact us.
The Exeter Florilegium (2021)
Covid-19 commission for RAMM, Exeter
Created in collaboration with shielding elders and hospital staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, this herbarium collection is a celebration of resilience - of the tenacity of nature and the capacity of individuals and communities to endure the isolation and trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Containing pressed marginal wild plant specimens and garden flowers that were gathered daily in the vicinity of the hospital, the work documents the extraordinary period of time from the start of lockdown in March 2020 to the end of British Summer Time, mapping the ephemeral nature of the annual growing cycle against the daily recorded UK deaths from Covid-19.
It captures the biodiversity of plant life growing within a one-mile radius of urban space around the hospital - outdoor space which proved so critical to the mental health of local residents and hospital staff on their daily walks in the local area.
This work acknowledges the innate human need to connect with the natural world and serves as an elegy to the healing power of nature.
The Exeter Florilegium (2021) was exhibited at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter in Autumn 2021.
Commissioned by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter 2020
Biophilia: Bedside Florilegium (2020)
Great Ormond Street Hospital, London
This mobile lightbox created as a work that can be wheeled to individual bedsides, brings flowering plants from the GOSH rooftop garden into the intimate spaces of hospital wards to support children who are confined to their beds.
It includes pressed plants that are renowned for their healing properties interwoven with pressed samples of flowers that came into bloom on the rooftop garden during the Summer of 2020.
Backlit within a lightbox, the delicate pressed plants radiate the fragile beauty and life-affirming power of nature, providing a connection to the natural world outside the ward.
Hospital staff supported its creation, collecting flower samples from the rooftop garden as they took their breaks - still wearing full PPE - during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The work champions the vital role of hospital gardens to support patients, their visitors and staff, as the biophilia phenomenon becomes increasingly recognised as an essential human need for health and wellbeing.
The beautiful GOSH rooftop garden designed by Chris Beardshaw provides a secluded and reflective space for staff and the families of children undergoing treatment. Originally created for the Morgan Stanley Chelsea Flower Show, the garden was adapted and rebuilt at the hospital in 2016 by the DIY SOS Television series team.
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