Lest we forget… art to remember

Art Makers at the Centre have been exploring their own family history through a beautiful new community art project.

In St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate, 17 men are named on their war memorial plaque. To commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War, the Church was keen to tell the stories of some of those men. Their plan was to research and then display their history, but to make it more engaging by adding multi sensory elements. They wanted to use music, lighting, and even incorporate scent, such as rosemary, the traditional herb for remembrance. When they approached our Arts & Crafts Centre about creating an art piece for the space we knew we could make something everyone would enjoy.

At Henshaws, the process of creating art is just as important as the final piece. With Art Makers with different levels of engagement too, we were excited at the challenge of a group piece everyone could get involved with. Our Jewellery, Pottery and Woodwork workshops were just the groups to take this forwards, and came up with a fantastic concept. An overall freestanding piece was envisaged, with wire and ceramic poppies hung within a frame. The whole project was inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, and the Woodwork group eagerly got started on the frame.

In the Jewellery workshop, poppy wire shapes were prepared, ready for embellishing. Art Makers were encouraged and supported to wrap the shapes with red wire, and then infilled the shapes by weaving the wire across. To finish, black beads or buttons were added to the centre. Each Art Maker had their own take on this; like snowflakes, no two poppies are alike!

Meanwhile, in the Pottery studio, clay was being rolled, shapes cut, and carefully painted. This project included Art Makers with complex needs as part of the creative process, alongside more independent Art Makers too. Throughout the creation of poppies, Art Makers and staff all talked about their family history, and what poppies meant to them.

Poppies remind me of my Great Grandad. He was a soldier in the First World War."

Rebecca, Art Maker, Jewellery Work

Poppies are for Remembrance Day to remember the soldiers."

Maxine, Art Maker, Pottery Workshop

Ceramic poppies

Our beautiful art piece will be on display at St Wilfred’s from the 10th November. The exhibition will open with a display of lights and music.

St Wilfrid's website

Interested in becoming an Art Maker? Find out more about our creative workshops.

Creative workshops

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.



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