Mindemoya palliative suite gets colourful artisan flair

Barb Edwards’ piece now hangs next to the patient bed in the palliative care suite at MHC’s Mindemoya hospital site. A similar piece is in the works for Little Current. photo by Warren Schlote.

MINDEMOYA – The palliative care suite at Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC)’s Mindemoya hospital site is now home to a vibrant stained-glass art piece by Kagawong artist Barb Edwards, offering a splash of colour and vibrancy to patients facing serious illnesses and their supportive family and friends.

“Glass is just a material, but once the light shines through that glass it’s really something to behold. Hopefully our patients and loved ones going through a difficult time can see it as something beautiful that they can appreciate,” said MHC president and CEO Lynn Foster. “We hope it’ll bring them a little light.”

Feedback from family members of patients inspired the move to commission the stained-glass piece. The window’s view at the Mindemoya site was not particularly picturesque and did not add to the desired feel of the room.

“My senior colleagues agreed, our patients deserve a beautiful piece of art,” said Ms. Foster.

Enter Barb Edwards.

Ms. Edwards, who operates Edwards Studios and Art Gallery in Kagawong alongside husband Richard, has been making stained-glass artwork for 23 years. Ms. Foster approached Ms. Edwards with a request to prepare a stained-glass piece that could hang in the window well space while still allowing the window to open for ceremonial purposes.

She began working on the piece this past fall after the busy summer season and completed it earlier this year.

“Usually the longest period of doing a piece like that is coming up with a design, then making it workable for the size of the piece,” said Ms. Edwards.

Once she had her design in mind, she created a large-scale drawing of the outline and collaborated with Ms. Foster on arguably the hardest part—choosing colours for the glass pieces.

The design is of a serene Northern landscape with the sun setting on the water next to a lone tree on a rocky point. It measures just shy of one square metre in size.

“It’s really satisfying to see it in place,” said Ms. Edwards. “To me, the light and colour coming through the glass is very uplifting and makes me feel so much better.”

Judy Mackenzie, president of the MHC Mindemoya Auxiliary, was present for the unveiling. Her volunteer group used proceeds of its Nevada ticket sales to fund the art commission.

MHC has a similar palliative care suite at its Little Current hospital site. Ms. Edwards will be producing a stained-glass piece for that location as well; it is expected to be larger than the Mindemoya piece by about 15 centimetres.

Ms. Edwards has not yet finalized the design for the second piece but said she will have more time to devote to the project given the circumstances of this summer.

Ms. Foster encouraged patients and families to continue submitting feedback on their MHC experiences because their comments help improve the patient experience.

Barb Edwards’ piece now hangs next to the patient bed in the palliative care suite at MHC’s Mindemoya hospital site. A similar piece is in the works for Little Current. photo by Warren Schlote.