The Hand of Fannie Storr

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Alabaster

h: 8 w: 32 d: 10 (cms).

This sculpture is carved in alabaster and is based on the hand of Fannie Storr. For most of her life she was a nurse devoted to caring for others. In the 1960's she was a missionary nurse in Hwangi, South Korea where she started and ran a clinic. Later in life after being a nursing sister and tutor she was appointed as Head of the School of Nursing at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. She oversaw the merger with Cheltenham’s School of Nursing to lead the only nurse training programme in Gloucestershire, and therefore became the Director of Nursing Education for the county. This hand bears the lines of time, experience, strength and courage. Although Fannie died at the peak of the first wave of the Covid 19 from natural causes many nurses today are giving their lives in service to the sick especially to those infected with Covid 19. So the hand is a poignant reminder of the lives who have cared for others.

Fannie went into an old people’s home at the end of 2019 before the Covid 19 lockdown. She was tall and strong for her age and seeing her in a home and rapidly decline was very sad. What saddened me most was she died without her friends being able to visit and only had a very small funeral after a life of giving so much. So this carving is to remember and celebrate her life.

During one of my last visits I took a photograph of her hand. I said I would like to carve it and she emotionally responded, ‘I would like that very much’. She loved art and was a keen photographer. She died at the age of 89.

£NFS

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Selector's Comment:

“I have been charged with the responsibility to select one work for an artist to write a vlog and tell us more about their practice. There are two works which split my allegiance equally so I would like to put them both forward as they reveal two equally valid and poignant responses to all we are living through. The first is ’The Hand of Fannie Storr’ which sensitively honours the life of a brilliant nurse, a very moving work which memorialises one of the many lost lives and one given to care, that reaffirm our shared humanity. The carving is very sensitive and imbues that one hand with such character and pathos rarely seen in a piece of stone. Many congratulations to Deborah Harrison.”

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Touch

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Portland Stone

h: 28 w: 95 d: 25 (cms).

We are a social species and need touch to thrive physically and emotionally. Research shows that the absence of touch leads to loneliness and stress, even depression.

Normally, welcomed tactile affection causes the release of oxytocin. It helps to nurture feelings of trust and connectedness and it also reduces the stress hormone (Cortisol). Twenty seconds of affection through touching (e,g, hugging) is enough to trigger the release of oxytocin and drive the release of a host of hormones and neuropeptides that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions. The physical effects of touch are far-reaching.

Touch usually brings assurance but during this covid crisis the fear of catching the virus tempers our human encounters with fear. A strange contradiction.

This sculpture was inspired by my crying new born son reaching for my hand from his hospital cot. On finding my finger he became peaceful. Poignantly, I finished it at the time of the Covid-19 world crisis. Hopefully, even with social distancing humanity can still find other ways to reach out to others.

£3000

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