Healing hands


Artist: Karina Thompson
Location: Plastic Outpatients, Level 3, Phase II building

A series of textile artworks by Karina Thompson displayed in the Plastic Surgery Outpatients waiting areas explore the relationship between textile textures and the reconstructive surgery carried out by the department.

Karina explained, “I have tried to reflect the range of people’s hands that might be in the waiting room; patients with their hands in splints, people waiting for treatment, clinical and clerical staff, the elderly with arthritis and children with small, eager hands.”

The idea of a handprint – a sign for care and help as well as a sign of identity – provided the starting point for Karina’s large-scale piece. ‘Once I was in the area and talking to staff it became clear how many of the plastic surgery outpatients were having treatment on their hands and this reinforced the relevance of the hand as a motif. Most people were happy to have outlines of their hands taken and staff were particularly keen.’

Through discussion with staff in the Maxillo-Facial department Karina became interested in sources of pattern within the body, in particular those found on the enamel of teeth, and this provided the inspiration for the series of intimate textile pieces installed along the main corridor in the department. The textile works make a decorative reference to the underlying structure of our teeth. ‘I have deliberately abstracted the imagery so it is only with a little time and understanding that the true source of it is revealed; most people will see them first of all as pretty patterns.’

The commission arose out of an opportunity to work with fashion designers Georgina Von Etzdorf who supplied all the materials for the commission.

Audio description Healing hands artwork