An aquamarine mermaid and a friendly dolphin: unlikely new residents at the Mountfern Centre!

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MOUNTFERN Adult Centre recently held a coffee morning to celebrate the completion of their new wall mural. Kathryn Nelson, the Arts Care artist in residence at Causeway Hospital, along with clients and staff from the Intensive Support Unit in Mountfern designed and developed a three-dimensional shimmering underwater scene.

Kathryn told the Times: “Working with enthusiastic and dedicated staff is always enjoyable; it means that the participating clients also get a better experience, and have more fun, and of course it also helps with the end results which are usually pretty good.”

She explained that theme was devised by both the staff and service users, which is important so that the group who are actually working on the piece will have ownership of it.

The mural is designed to provide a multisensory experience; the sounds and smells of the ocean along with a gentle breeze enhance the visual effects.

The mural took approximately 12 weeks to complete with service users working on for a few hours each morning on the project.

The project involved several stages of design and development. Firstly, a simple sketch was drawn and approved by the group. To create the 3D sculptural elements, large paper templates where drawn and then cut out in ply-board.

Papier-mâché was then applied to the boards and a layer of plaster, this process was done by everyone. The final stage of the models, was the painting – this again was done by everyone. Finally the 3D pieces could be fixed in place on the wall.

The resulting mural is spectacular, and was greatly admired during its unveiling at the coffee morning. Isabel Kidd, Day Care Lead Manager, said: “I would like to say a special thanks to all the clients involved along with our three very enthusiastic staff, Marie Nichol, Ann-Marie Cunning and Tanya Malcolm and of course Kathryn”

The project is one of several thematic resonance of the sea, sand and holidays projects developed by the Causeway Arts Care Group. Artist Kathryn Nelson is currently working with staff and patients in the Ross Thomson Unit, on three projects using mixed media materials.

The work has been designed not only to improve the visual look of the ward, but also to promote self-esteem and creativity.