The Background

The idea of creating an artwork for Martin House came about during the run-up to our 30th anniversary in 2017, as an eye-catching and unique way to raise awareness about our services.

We wanted to see if we could use art to invite conversation, raise awareness and dispel myths about children’s hospices.

We wanted a piece of art we could take into our communities, but which also included the contribution of our children and young people, as well as schoolchildren from across our region.

With the help of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we were put in touch with artist Sarah Jane Palmer, and the idea that became The Butterfly and The Bird was born.

Sarah suggested using an inflatable sculpture as a portable, flexible space which could be used in different ways and in many settings, and an animation to bring the work of hundreds of people together in one form.

Our community fundraiser Alison Wragg and art therapist Helen Scouller worked with Sarah, as well as children and families at the hospice, to develop the idea. The house martin – the bird that Martin House was named after – and the butterfly, which is the symbol of the children’s hospice movement - both figured as prominent motifs during the design process.

About the Artist:

Sarah Jane Palmer is a Sheffield-based artist:

“I am an artist with a passion for pattern, visual trickery and storytelling. My creations form a combination of sculpture, installation, film, animation and hand-made wallpapers. What I love is to create stories that a glance one could miss, but that a second take might reveal.

“I love the way an artwork can keep showing you something new. My art practice is concerned with the immersive experience of printmaking, developing patterns within animations and sculpture.

“I have a surface pattern design and hand crafted wallpaper company called Muriel Design and have exhibited and sold my work both nationally and internationally.”

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