Textiles students

Six year partnership celebrated with new commission

Somerset College celebrated a six year partnership with Art for Life, the arts project at Musgrove Park Hospital, last week as one talented student was awarded a commission to decorate a wall in the Garden Room at the new Beacon Centre.

BA (Hons) Interior Textile and Surface Design undergraduate Maria Elliott, from Taunton, was awarded the commission that will see her tree inspired design adorn a wall in the new Beacon Centre. The Beacon Centre is the new state of the art facility for cancer patients which is due to open in May this year.

Maria's design was commended by the judges because it gave the patients a calming feeling. Patients can get lost in the picture, away from their own traumatic experiences. She also uses light to good effect in the design which has a spiritual quality to it.

Maria said: 'I am really pleased to receive this commission. It is an honour to be able to give something back to the community. My design is simple, it allows the patient to get lost in their own thoughts and forget about what they are suffering from.

Preparing for this commission has given me experience of what I will have to do when I graduate. It has allowed me to understand the processes I will have to go through to win other commissions.'

To win the commission, undergraduates had to present their concepts to a panel of five members of the hospital management team. The wall that the winning design will adorn has been named the 'Garden Room'. It is a specially designed space for inpatients to relax away from their rooms.

During the process Art for Life were so impressed with three other students from the College that they have committed to work closely with them. Jamie Bass, from Yeovil, was also commissioned to produce artwork for the day room in the Beacon Centre. Leanne Maddison from Brixham, and Gemma Case from Langport were offered opportunities for further projects.

Bronwen Gwillim, from Art for Life at Musgrove Park hospital, said: ‘Six years ago I met with tutors from the Textiles and Surface Design course, to see what opportunities their might be for working together. After seeing the quality of the artworks we have in the hospital they were keen for students to have the chance of working with Art for Life.'

'The standard of the students work has gone from strength to strength as the partnership has developed. High quality art and well considered interior designs are a wonderful way to make patients feel better in the hospital.'

Neil Musson, course leader at Somerset College said: 'The long standing partnership between the course and Musgrove Park hospital has added a vital sense of reality to the student's projects. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with Musgrove Park hospital and I'm sure we'll keep delivering innovative solutions.'

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Somerset College delivers degree level courses through a partnership with the University of Plymouth.