The Three Sisters is a group of connected artworks for the new Ormonde Wing of St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny made by artist Diane McCormick. Made in ceramic, printed Perspex and Vescom wall covering, and commissioned by the HSE through the Per Cent for Art Scheme, the artworks were installed in various locations on all four floors of the 77-bed wing.
The artworks were commissioned in 2021 and provide a link to the surrounding area by creating a welcoming feel to the entrance and corridors of the wards with familiar images of local landmarks, buildings and nature.
For the artist, Diane McCormick, it allowed her the chance to design an integrated artwork scheme throughout the four floors with a range of different media, related by colour and design, which ensured a vibrant and carefully considered artistic outcome.
The artworks include small intimate framed ceramic pictures of wildlife and built heritage of the counties Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary in seating areas and at the entrance, large scale wall coverings used as wayfinding, and circular printed Perspex at the entrances to the lift lobbies. Each ward is defined by a colour and name and is linked by the theme of the three rivers that run though the area.
Colours, shapes and scale of artforms provide different points of interest throughout the four floors of the new Ormond Wing.
The aim of the artworks is to:
- Provide each ward with a theme connected to a river, either the Nore, Suir or Barrow.
- Create a calming space by connecting to nature and familiar landmarks with the use of soft colours – blues, greens and yellows.
- Initiate conversations about endangered wildlife or built heritage found locally.
- Use as wayfinding for each ward, at entrances and ends of corridors and nurses stations.
Due to the pandemic no site visit was possible, but the architects provided a presentation of the building, with colour schemes and possible locations identified. The theme for the wards included bringing in local landmarks along the Three Sisters (Rivers Nore, Suir and Barrow) along with associated wildlife, and research for different materials suitable for artwork in hospitals was discussed at one of the early meetings.
The Arts Committee, which included the Architects from Wejchert, Senior Nursing Staff, the Arts in Healthcare Programme Manager, HSE Estates Manager and the General Hospital Manager engaged with the artist on the selection of images from the surrounding catchment areas to create the artworks and provided input into suitable locations for these.
The Arts Officer was instrumental in linking the artist with external Heritage and Wildlife Officers in the other counties to provide information on species at risk and unusual built heritage structures that might be included.
The artist began the project with the 14 small scale ceramic individual artworks each measuring 600 x 400 framed. Bridges, historical buildings, landscapes, dolmen, birds, fish and trees all feature throughout these pieces which were then used as textural elements for the other large scale printed wall coverings and Perspex circles. The blue river winds its way through the decorative designs creating a flow along the ward connecting each of the different elements.
Coloured wayfinding ward numbers in vinyl, each with a motif taken from the ceramic pieces, ensure the four floors have their own identity and name.
The artworks are comprised of:
- 12 areas of Vescom printed wallcovering each approx. 3m x 5 m. Printed on 103501 DELTA , approved for hospital wards.
- 9 printed Perspex circles measuring 1.1 m diameter (three at floors 1, 2 and 3).
- 14 ceramic framed pictures (3 located on floors 1, 2 and 3 at the waiting area and 5 at the Freshford ward entrance opposite the lifts).
- Acrylic numbers for the wards ( 3 at each floor)
The artworks were installed between January and March 2022, wallpaper by an approved contractor, the rest by the artist team.
The work was evaluated throughout the design and making phases by Zoom meeting updates and by a final written report.
The feedback from each meeting was invaluable to the success of the artwork, the enthusiasm of the people involved and the input by members of the art committee ensured that the art was relevant to the people who would be using this new wing of the hospital.
Liaising with the architects on design aspects and the placement of each of the various elements ensured the art fitted in with their vision and design. Conversations regarding local heritage features such as the Carlow Fence and the plight of the Freshwater Mussel would not have cropped up without the invaluable input of the arts team and their own connections throughout the adjoining counties.
This project gave me the opportunity to create a number of large-scale designs in wallpaper all in one area. In the past I have made ceramics which I knew would look good scaled up and this project gave me the ideal space to realise larger integrated artworks which give a real impact to the ward. – Artist Diane McCormick
Documentation and Dissemination
The new wing was opened in April 2022 by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.
The project was documented and is included on the artist’s website: www.dianemccormick.co.uk/commissions
Date of Publication
July 2021-March 2022
St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny
HSE through the Per Cent for Art Scheme
Architecture, Visual Arts
Nature of project
Collaborative/ participatory, Public art commission