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Chandelier of lost earrings lights up Manchester maternity ward

  • Date: 17 January 2014
  • Artform: Visual arts
  • Area: North
Visitors looking at the chandelier sculpture The chandelier at St Mary's Hospital, Helen Kitchen

An exciting sculpture made from thousands of donated earrings has been exhibited at the maternity unit of St Mary's Hospital in Manchester.

Sagar and Campbell were awarded £9,500 through our Grants for the arts funding scheme to run a mass participation arts project called The Chandelier of Lost Earrings. The architectural glass artists created a sculpture using over 3,500 single earrings donated to them by the owners who had lost the other earring of the pair. Many people also sent in stories to accompany their contribution. These have become part of the legacy of the artwork.

The sculpture was designed to be floor standing. At 2.5 metres high and 1 metre wide, the chandelier is made up of thousands of earrings, hundreds of lengths of chains, donated necklaces, bracelets, beads, brooches and two watches.

Audience participation

Staff and visitors at the maternity unit contributed earrings and stories to the project. The collection of earrings spanned several generations; women donating items from their grandmothers as well as their daughters. These earrings held a great deal of sentimental value as demonstrated by the letters sent with them.

Benefits to the artists

The investment made a huge difference to the career of artists Sagar and Campbell.

Lauren Sagar said: 'Grants for the arts funding helped us show that we could create large, quality artworks that have a substantial appeal and increase participation from audiences. It gave us the time we needed to make the sculpture and confidence to those we requested support from for the project.'

The chandelier will be heading to St Helens Central Library in 2014 where it will be a starting point for groups and individuals to write their own stories, facilitated by a writer.

For more information about Grants for the arts, see artscouncil.org.uk/gfta

For further advice, phone 0845 300 6200 or email enquiries@artscouncil.org.uk