Home   News   Article

Caithness artists and writers team up in Wick hospital project


By Alan Hendry

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Some of the artists and writers in the outpatient waiting area at Caithness General Hospital with senior charge nurse Alison Geddes (standing, left) and Ian Pearson (right), chairman of the Society of Caithness Artists. Picture: Alan Hendry
Some of the artists and writers in the outpatient waiting area at Caithness General Hospital with senior charge nurse Alison Geddes (standing, left) and Ian Pearson (right), chairman of the Society of Caithness Artists. Picture: Alan Hendry

Caithness artists and writers have combined their talents for the benefit of people attending hospital appointments.

Fourteen framed artworks, each accompanied by a piece of creative writing, now adorn the walls of Caithness General Hospital's outpatient waiting area.

It is the result of a collaboration between two local groups, Caithness Writers and the Society of Caithness Artists.

Working in pairs, seven writers and seven artists each created a response to the other person's interpretation on the theme of Dreams.

The completion of the project was marked by a small gathering in the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Ian Pearson, chairman of the Society of Caithness Artists, welcomed guests on behalf of Jean McLennan, of Caithness Writers, who was unable to attend.

"People come here and they sit down and they might be a bit nervous about waiting for their appointment, but their mind is taken off it by looking around at the artworks here," Ian said.

"It puts them in a different frame of mind and they become more relaxed. It's all about mindfulness and wellbeing, that's the way I see it.

"It's a quiet time, it's a time to reflect."

Artist Valerie Barker (left) and writer Margaret Mackay beside one of their joint works. Picture: Alan Hendry
Artist Valerie Barker (left) and writer Margaret Mackay beside one of their joint works. Picture: Alan Hendry

Senior charge nurse Alison Geddes described the words and images as "fantastic" and pointed out that there had been a positive response from patients.

She said: "We've found that people will be looking at the pictures and reading the words and then they'll start speaking to other patients. It's good that there's this interaction."

Writers' group member John Crofts and artist Willie Wallace were among those who teamed up for the project.

John said: "The words are supposed to respond to the pictures and vice versa. Each writer sent some words to an artist and each artist sent a picture, and then the writers responded to the picture they'd been sent and the artists responded to the words they'd been sent, so you'd end up with two pictures and two bits of writing responding to each other. It was a bit like herding cats, but it worked!

"I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Willie said: "I've never done anything where I've had to respond to someone else's work and then vice versa. It was a great opportunity to be quite creative and think in a different way."

Writers' group members who took part were Catherine Byrne, John Crofts, John Knowles, Margaret Mackay, Meg Macleod, Sharon Gunason Pottinger and Margaret Wood.

The artists were Justine Bainbridge, Valerie Barker, Hannah Cambridge, Jackie Newton, Liz O'Donnell, Katie Squires and Willie Wallace.

The framing was done by Durran's of Thurso.

Funding was provided by four community councils: Lybster, Latheron and Clyth; Sinclair Bay; Tannach and district; and Wick.

Artist Willie Wallace (left) and writers' group member John Crofts were among those who teamed up. Picture: Alan Hendry
Artist Willie Wallace (left) and writers' group member John Crofts were among those who teamed up. Picture: Alan Hendry

The idea was modelled on an earlier project in another part of the hospital which began with an idea by artists Ian Giles and Jana Emburey.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's event, Jean McLennan explained: "This has taken a long time to come to fruition.

"Around two years ago I had an appointment and was sitting in the new outpatient waiting area when I thought it might be good to replicate the earlier project and provide people with something to look at and read, and hopefully enjoy, as they wait.

"I sounded out Caithness Writers, of which I am a member, and contacted Ian Pearson to find out if the Society of Caithness Artists would participate. The response from both organisations was positive and so, following permission to proceed from NHS Highland, I wrote to four community councils to cover the cost of framing the works which they kindly did."


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More