Of sea and stars

Glasswork James Cook Hospital

Laura Johnston’s design of sea and stars was influenced by the constellation of the stars that Cook used as global navigation.

Looking up, the lines of longitude are plotted by stainless steel wire rigging ropes extending from the curved beams at roof level down to the centre of the first floor bridge at The James Cook University Hospital.

This structure took two days to install by specialist marine riggers and creates the shape of the four sections of the globe – the southern hemisphere.

Two hundred and forty dichroic glass panels were fixed to the globe sections and the horizontal lines created by them suggest latitudinal paths. Standing on the bridge looking out at the rigging also suggests a nautical feel reminiscent of a ship’s mast.

NASA developed dichroic glass for the space shuttle Endeavour (named in tribute to Cook) to block the transmission of harmful rays. The glass used in Laura’s work is specially coated, changing colour depending on where you view the sculpture, the time of day and weather conditions. Laura, who has family in Middlesbrough, is probably best known for her work Shoal in Sunderland’s National Glass Centre.