Hoardings inside Bath Abbey to be transformed into work of art

Specially designed artwork by university students and a local art group will decorate hoardings inside Bath Abbey from the end of this month.

As part of Phase 2 of Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, part of the Abbey’s nave and crossing will be hidden behind hoardings while essential work is taking place to repair the collapsing floor and install an eco-heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs.

Rather than leave the hoardings bare, Bath Abbey has been working with students from Bath Spa University and The Holburne Museum’s Gardener’s Lodge Art Group to design a series of graphics and artwork that will engage the Abbey’s visitors and inform them about the Footprint project.

Tim Vyner, Senior Lecturer [BA Hons] Graphic Communication from Bath Spa University said: “This project has been an excellent opportunity for our students to deliver a significant 'design story' for the Abbey. It has really allowed the students to show off the range of professional skills the course has prepared them for; typography, illustration photography, organisation and presentation skills and seeing individual students come together as a group has been particularly rewarding. The Abbey has been a great client, really positive and encouraging, and our students can all be proud of the work they have produced and take this invaluable professional experience into the next stage of their careers”.

As part of the hoardings design, The Gardener’s Lodge Art Group at The Holburne Museum has also produced a colourful ‘Tree of Life’ mosaic. The group visited Bath Abbey and were inspired by the scale and majesty of the space as well as the calm and tranquillity. Whilst sketching and exploring the Abbey, they reflected on the idea of ‘peace’ and what it meant to them. Working with mosaic artist Emma Leith, the members of the art group combined their own individual responses in a large collaborative mosaic which grew with their mosaicing skills and confidence. The ‘Tree of Life’ symbolises the many different ways in which people experience and find peace - whether through the beauty of the natural world, exploring religious and spiritual beliefs or simply the joy of colour!

Ollie Taylor, Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement at Bath Abbey, said: “We’re grateful to Bath Spa University and the Gardener’s Lodge Art Group for their creativity, motivation and above all, for really getting to grips with what the Abbey was looking for. We asked them to produce something that would make our hoardings look attractive but not detract from the Abbey’s beautiful interior, something that was simple yet somehow depicts what the Abbey and the Footprint project are about. It was a really challenging task but one they’ve managed to fulfil and do extremely well! As part of Footprint, we’ll have new spaces for learning, music and interpretation, better visitor facilities, undertake essential conservation work, as well as create even more opportunities where we can work closely with students and local community groups, and this is a brilliant example of how this can happen.”