This was a project to design and create a mosaic river that would run through the gardens surrounding River House, the new forensic building at the Bethlem hospital. Karen Risby, who runs the art department at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, first informed us about the project.  She had heard that there were going to be opportunities for service users to get involved with the design for a river, which would surround the new building. 

We got together with Karen and Beth Elliot (Bethlams gallery coordinator), and came up with an idea that involved mounting mosaiced fish onto concrete slabs, which were then cemented into the "river".

In April 2007, we were informed that Network Arts had secured the commission, and for the next 6 months members worked tirelessly to create the 80 slabs required for the river.   We also ran workshops on Wednesdays afternoons at the Bethlem with Karen and Beth.  In, all over 50 people contributed by making slabs.

Making the slabs

 

A selection of completed slabs is shown below. If you would like to see all of the slabs please click here.

Having completed the slabs, the next job was to install them at the Bethlam. Over the course of about a week, groups of 4-5 people were able to work on site, cementing the slabs in place. It was hard work, and very messy, but also good fun and a great experience. Anyone working on-site had to wear high visability jackets and hard hats. 

 

Installing the Slabs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completing this project was a real acheivement, and everyone was rightly proud of their work. Some of the members had the opportunity to visit the site after completion and see their work in situ. 

The Completed River