The first contact I had regarding the commission was from the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust Secretary and the then Head of Facilities for the four hospital sites. They had seen my work at an exhibition I had at the John Radcliffe Hospital. They had particularly liked a multi plate print I had made of Oxford and thought that a print made in the same way would be an excellent way of illustrating hospital life at the four hospitals in the trust. I was very excited about the whole prospect and thought it sounded like a great challenge.
The brief was to include include architectural aspects of the hospitals, new technology and also include familiar faces in the print; people that were well known on the sites.
Equipped with a list of subjects that were thought important to illustrate and carte blanche to include any aspects that I thought were interesting, I visited all of the sites and took a series of photographs. Armed with a huge pile of prints to sort through I had another meeting with the Trust. It soon became clear that to make a print that would give the feel and atmosphere of the four hospitals it would require a very big piece; in fact it ended up being huge!
After we had edited the photographs down to the images that I was to work from, I then had the task of designing and planning the print. I didn't want to create a piece of work that looked like a series of images that just happened to be printed together. I was concerned that not only the images made on the plates should be interesting but shapes made between the plates would also work. I then had the daunting task of making 42 plates, this being the final total in the complete print.
The final challenge when all of the individual plates had been made was to make the print. It takes a whole day to ink the plates and produce a print. Making a print which included so many plates threw up a few problems that had to be thought through. I don't know of anybody who has made a multi plate print of this complexity so therefore I had to find ways of solving the problems myself but in the end the problems were resolved. The print was so big that it actually took two people to turn the handle of the press so my husband Brian had to come and assist (he asked for a mention)!
I'm very happy with the result and I'm delighted that the Hospital Trust is so pleased with the outcome.