Poppies and Peace Hangings
The project made partnerships with several community or craft groups across the borough who all chose to respond to the WW1 theme by making vibrant textiles.
Drawing on their own skills and inspired by the work of each other Birstall Library Crafts, the Anand Mangal group, Limehurst Ladies, the Aspire group, Quorn Quilters and Loughborough High School students supported by Artist in Residence Emily Notman created an impressive range of hanging textiles that drew together their particular responses to the WW1 theme. From the hand stitched names of the fallen to appliqued global symbols such as a peace dove, hands raised in prayer, red poppies and simple crosses like those markers found on the green fields of France these cloths became synonymous with the contemporary response that Charnwood was able to express through the project to the experiences of one hundred years ago.
Together the Poppies and Peace hangings were displayed at All Saints with Holy Trinity Church creating an arch over the main aisle at the Peace Vigil in 2015, at the Loughborough Mela in 2015, Charnwood Museum in 2015 and 2016 and at Loughborough LIbrary for three months at the beginning of 2017. Made independently but shared through these exhibitions across the boundaries of separate groups, whenever they are shown they inspire reflection on the themes of the war and its aftermath – both in those who made them and those who see them.
100 Hundred Years of Memories Quilt
Inspired by the idea of one hundred years of memories since WW1 this textile reflects the life experiences of the ladies of the Anand Mangal group many of whom came to this country to marry, work and raise families being separated from their homes.
The ladies brought in photos from their family ‘archives’ which were transfer printed onto pieces of cloth some of which had been part of a favourite garment or the household items of a particular era by community artist Jen Johnson. Each lady had a ‘square’ with her own pictures on it which she then embellished with embroidery, buttons, threads and ribbons. In the process they recalled their past experiences.
This was one way through which the group members could reflect on the feelings and thoughts that they had had as young women when they were separated from friends and family to come to Charnwood enabling them to empathise with the stories of the people of the borough who lost loved ones in life and death battles overseas during the Great War; and to reflect collectively on one hundred years of shared history.