Padlocks of Self-Love

Sally Hackett is working with Hospitalfield on a long term commission as part of the development of our blacksmith made garden gate leading to our walled garden.

This project encourages individuals to celebrate love for themselves in an act of creativity and expression. We are often surrounded by celebratory bias towards romantic love and couples, the padlock represents this – often placed in a cheesy way crowding the edges of bridges in cities like Rome and Paris to represent a couples undying love. While we celebrate duo-unions in lots of ways: weddings, anniversaries, engagement parties, we only celebrate the individual through a birthday.

Love for other people is beautiful but rarely do we dedicate our love to ourselves. This project is intended to allow people to take time to offer up their devotion to themselves. Inspired by the padlocks that burden city bridges with lovers initials, participants are invited to join Sally to make a self-portrait in wax that will be cast into metal (an everlasting material) and soldered onto a padlock, representing their dedication to themselves. By attaching their lock to the gate at Hospitalfield, instead of being bound in metal to another human being they are bound in metal to themselves. To be acknowledged and reminded each time you enter the walled garden.

Individuals and groups are invited over three summers to work with Sally to create their padlocks. If you would like to take part in one of our padlock making workshops please email

The commission will be completed with two Sally Hackett sculptures encompassing these ideas as finials on either side of the gate posts in April 2023.

The Garden as the site for Padlocks of Self-Love resonates with the positive effects for wellbeing that people experience when in gardens and nature. These individually crafted works resonate with the tradition of arts and crafts at Hospitalfield.

Thank you to those of you who have already contributed to the garden gate:

Kelly Bennett                Karen Elliot                      Tana Pennock
Lindsay Boyd                Ciara Gibson                    Katie Schwab
Kyle Clark                      Brenda Goorkani            Lisa Simmons
Karen Clarke                 Erica Low                         Billie Stewart
Skye Clarke                    Hanna MacLeod             Christina Sturrock
Brogan Cooper              Isla McConnachie          Quinn Taylor
Ruby Davidson              Lynette Mitchell             Adam Valentine
Poppy Donachie            Rio Moore & Family       Elliot Whittle
Tabitha Wood