The Poppy Project: Hawkesbury craft workers honour those who served

If you can knit, felt or crochet, you are invited to help make 2000 poppies for an installation to commemorate the WWI Armistice Day Centenary in November.

The Poppy Project, which began as a small personal tribute by two Australian women, has become an international phenomenon, showing respect for, and remembrance of those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities. There have been an estimated 50,000 plus contributors to the project, and hundreds of smaller localised tributes throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

To get you started, Hawkesbury Central Library will host craft days on the second Friday of the month from April to November (13 April, 11 May, 8 June, 13 July, 10 August, 14 September, 12 October and 9 November). The sessions will run from 10am to midday. It’s a free activity and everyone is welcome. Tea and coffee will be provided. There is no need to book - just come along and bring your own needles or hooks and wool. The installation in November in the Deerubbin Centre will be undertaken by Gallery staff and is expected to create a stunning effect.

Knitted PoppiesIf you want to be involved but are unable to attend, you are welcome to make poppies at home. Patterns are available at both libraries, as well as the Museum and the Gallery. You can also go online to find a pattern/designs of your choosing – any size, any shade of red – the only requirement is that the finished product be a Flanders-style poppy. When completed, just drop them off at one of the above locations by Friday, 26 October. Donations of red or black 8-ply wool and small buttons would also be appreciated.

The seeds of the Flanders poppy (Papaver rhoeas) had lain dormant on the front lines of France until 1915 when they were disturbed the soldiers fighting in World War 1 and coincidentally, the weather was perfect conditions for them to germinate. For the next four years, the poppies grew and their flowers lay like a red blanket across the fields on which the soldiers fought.

The Flanders poppy is now a poignant reminder of the fallen soldiers on both Remembrance Day (11 November) and on Anzac Day (25 April) in Australia.  They are worn with pride, used in wreaths and sold to raise funds for charities that support returned solders.

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