The Very Last Poppy at the Tower of London

The very last ceramic poppy was removed from the moat at the Tower of London last Friday and I was honoured to be part of it.

The very last poppy in the moat

The night before a last dashed email had been sent out asking for a final batch of volunteers to clear and tidy up the moat, ‘reply if you can make it’. I rearranged things and replied “YES”.

Friday was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. Perfect. The volunteers were split into teams to tackle the last two areas of poppies. I was first tasked to clear the poppies from around the pet cemetery near Traitors Gate.

The view from the path before the poppies were removed
The processing boxes & tables and the poppies at the base of the distant tower
It was so strange when the tourists started flocking and photographing us doing the clearing up
One of the first pets to be buried on the pet cemetery
The Poppies and their stems were dismantled. Poppies carefully placed into boxes
After the clear-up

Following the clear up we moved to the moat at Cradle Tower where the last poppy was picked by the youngest and eldest volunteer.

The youngest and eldest volunteer and the last poppy: Eileen (82) and Alexandria (18)
The latter part of my day was spent collecting money thrown into the moat at Traitors Gate. All money goes to the British Legion.

 

There is more money than you think.
Some coins have left their mark
Found Objects – thrown down by tourists, collected and displayed in the moat

 

 

So much mud ! Back to get washed up. What was a brilliant experience.

Poppies at the Tower of London 2014


Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 88,246 ceramic poppies have slowly filled the Tower’s famous moat over the summer, the last poppy being planted on the 11th November 2014 as part of the Armistice Remembrance Day. Each poppy representing a British and Commonwealth military fatality during WW1.

I visited on a day when the sun was shining. It was a sight to behold seeing a glinting sea of red. The expanse of the installation is breathtaking and quite moving when one thinks of its significance.

Dismantling of the display will start after Armistice.  A portion of the installation will tour the UK and later go on display at London’s Imperial War Museum. Each poppy has been sold off to raise funds for Service and Military Charities.
Here are some of the images from the Tower of London.

 

 

Each poppy sits on a metal stake, placed firmly in the soft earth
The Wave Display
A glinting Sea of Red

 

 

The second of two Weeping displays

 

One of the two Weeping displays

 

Poppies laid on the ground

 

 

Volunteers laying the last few poppies
Here are some panoramic shots I took.
I wanted to remember the expanse of the display and the huge crowds of people.

 

 

Hens Teeth at Hope and Elvis – 2013

Last year I was a very lucky girl and managed to get a place on the Hens Teeth workshop at Hope and Elvis. The idea was to make a sewing or needle case, but as always, I tend not to follow rules and ended up creating something else!

I started off with scraps from an old blanket then added vintage red bias binding and vintage calico from my Arnold’s Attic stash. The wonderful Viv from Hens Teeth gave each of us a screen print for us to embroider the date onto, plus and a selection of screen printed figures to choose from too – I chose her iconic running hen. The whole thing was finished off with flurries of embroidery, inspired by Viv,  and some vintage linen buttons from the stash from Arnold’s Attic.
Here is my finished piece…..I hope you like it .
Thank you to Viv for sharing your work with us and to Louise for sharing your relaxing Studio at Hope and Elvis.

The front cover – complete with vintage linen buttons
Viv was a sweetie and signed my work

 

 

The back cover