Chelsea Musings and Other Poppy Related Paraphernalia

We have had a mammoth couple of weeks with the formal announcement of our RHS Chelsea appearance.  We are continuing work on the nets and stems and it feels like the whole team has lifted with the announcement and we are working at a feverish pace to make sure the installation is perfect for it’s unveiling to the world in May. Phillip’s team has done such an amazing job on the design and we are all very excited.

chelsea 2016 artist impression_RT-SmallOn that note, I have been thinking over the last few days about how honoured I am to be a part of this project.  I have said often that despite the fact that it has taken over my life for the last 3 years (and not only MY life), I still feel incredibly privileged to be doing this.

There are so many elements to the project … there is of course the poppy … or many thousands of poppies, supplied by a remarkable community aged from 2 to 102 (and possibly older) from many different cultures, interest groups, community groups, schools, libraries, retirement villages and so on.  SO MANY!!!!

Then there is the group that helped to create the stunning poppy stems for our wonderful designer Phillip Johnson’s poignant tribute at the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show.

Then there is the group that helped to pull the whole thing together for Anzac Day in Fed Square.  What a challenge that was … to create a work of art from the raw materials that we had … beautiful as they were … it was so much bigger than we expected.  And we did it.  Hundreds of volunteers weekly for months to create that masterpiece.

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Then there is the group (many of the same people but some new ones) including all those wonderful men and women from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade who helped to install for Anzac Day both on the steps at Fed Square and then on Princes Bridge.  What an enormous challenge that day was … in pouring rain we made a beautiful spectacle/tribute for our veterans, their families, their friends and their communities.  That WAS something very special and I will never forget it.

The MFB in full flightAnd what a joy to see all those wonderful contributors make the journey from everywhere to see their poppies … I loved their stories, and fervently hoped that they would find their poppies among the many thousands we collected.  Some did … but some didn’t.  The excitement when someone did find their contribution still stands out in my memory of that day.

And then there were all those many other hand crafted poppy installations that were inspired by this project.  And how amazing were they … knitted and crocheted poppies everywhere at home and abroad … in all manner of creative display.  Very special!

And of course our beautiful Gratitude sculpture by Adrian Egglestone off to its new home at the PTSD Ward at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

And you know we could have stopped after Anzac Day.  We achieved what we set out to do and it was magnificent.

But we didn’t.

And so for the last 10 months or more we have been working on rehabilitating the nets from their soaking on Anzac Day … making new stems (20,000) and creating another work of art to be unveiled to the world at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.  Another mammoth feat of superhuman endeavour …. sounds kinda epic and in many ways it IS epic … thousands upon thousands upon thousands of woman (and man) hours. Teams of people working harder than ever to create another masterpiece.

To honour our heroes …  our loved ones, our families, our friends.

This tiny personal project started out to pay tribute my gorgeous dad Wal Beasley and Marg’s wonderful dad Stan Knight who were our personal heroes.  But that is just one story of a project that is rich in stories. Every single contributor has done so for their own reasons … personal and private and/or shared with the community at large. The dedications (which are still being completed I might add) are a testament to that.  Everyone has a story behind their poppies.  I love that.

So … I am waxing lyrical as I tend to do occasionally … but my heart is bursting with gratitude for those many contributors, volunteers and supporters who have made this lovely project come to life. And of course Phillip’s team and the Victorian Government for helping us to take it to the world … it will be amazing.

And we have had so much fun!  A shared sense of purpose and many new friendships formed.  I am sure we will all miss our team meetings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I know I will be sad when the last “guns up” is uttered.

We are nearly there!

It’s been quiet a journey.

Words cannot express my gratitude to you.

Lynn xxx

 

 

 

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Game On … We are off to Chelsea 2016

Good morning poppy friends.

Today we are incredibly excited about the announcement last night that 5000 Poppies has collaborated with acclaimed landscape designer Phillip Johnson to create a spectacular 5000 Poppies installation for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 in London in May this year.

Sponsored by the Victorian Government through the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Veterans Affairs … we will be taking more than a kilometre of poppies to Chelsea.

Phillips wonderful design is stunning in it’s simplicity … and will no doubt be a highlight of the show. This magnificent artists impression by Colin Johnson shows you the size and scope of the installation with the incredible backdrop of the Chelsea Hospital … it’s going to be SPECTACULAR.

chelsea 2016 artist impression_RT-SmallThe story behind the project is amazing as most of you already know.

From humble beginnings … where Marg and I set out to crochet 120 poppies to honour our fathers’ service in WWII … Marg’s father Stan Knight was a British Soldier who fought in Europe and my father Wal Beasley an Australian Infantryman who fought in New Guinea.

As they say … from little things big things grow.

On Anzac Day last year we “planted” more than quarter of a million poppies in Fed Square in Melbourne and on Princes Bridge for our Anzac Day marchers to march through … what an incredible honour.

More than 50,000 contributors of all ages and cultural backgrounds have created a stunning selection of handcrafted poppies using many and varied techniques … knitted, crocheted, felted, stitched, beaded, tatted, embroidered, paper, ceramic and mixed media. And who can forget our stunning “Gratitude” sculpture by Adrian Egglestone and his wonderful team at Uniweld Engineering which has now found a permanent home at Ward 17 (PTSD Ward) at Heidelberg Repat … perfect.

Gratitude Anzac Day 2015 Karyn Mitchell

And now we are off to Chelsea.

It’s a dream that I never thought would come true when Former Victorian Premier and Chairman of the Anzac Centenary Committee asked where I would like to see the poppies go … way back in 2013.  At that time … almost as a throwaway line I said … “really Ted,  they belong on the world stage … I think we should take them to Chelsea”.  Not surprisingly … Ted knew just the guy to help us make it happen … that’s when Phillip came on board.

And here we are …

We have so many people to thank … not the least of which of course is those we made this tribute for … our servicemen and women, their families and the communities … and then our incredible contributors who just keep working and giving their skills and their time and bearing the burden of the costs of being involved, and those people and organisations who have supported us financially … so incredibly generous of you. And not forgetting those wonderful people in many many communities around Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world who have created their own wonderful local community tributes using the 5000 Poppies project as inspiration.

A big thank you to Federation Square for supporting us and providing us with such a spectacular space to showcase our wonderful installation.

And importantly, a HUGE thank you also Phillip Johnson and the amazing team at Phillip Johnson Landscapes for taking our wonderful vision and massaging into something truly beautiful, and of course thank you especially to the Victorian Government and all those many who have contributed to the success of this amazing tribute.

Woohoo … we are going to Chelsea!!!

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Feeling blessed

Lynn and Marg xxx

 

 

 

 

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Gippsland and the Chelsea Flower Show … Here We Come!!!!

I just noticed how long it’s been since I’ve posted and I am flabbergasted!!!! Where did those months go …. actually I know where …  in a flurry of activity drying and refurbishing our wonderful nets.  I promise we have not been idle. Plus we have been working on the next exciting steps for our beautiful poppies.  So much to tell you!!!!!

We are now travelling with the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience, currently in Tasmania but coming to Bendigo in November and then continuing it’s journey around Australia.  You must see this wonderful exhibition … tickets are free but you need to book.  Numbers are strictly limited for each session and tightly controlled. I can’t wait til it comes to Melbourne so I can have a good look.

We have a wonderful exhibition on at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum until the end of December

IMG_1930 EditWe have supported the Australian Craft and Quilt Show with their wonderful and inspirational exhibition with our own piece … A Nation Weeps …

And over November the poppies will be heading down to Gippsland Victoria for a Shire wide collaboration of poppy pandemonium … 40 nets plus lots of stems, strings and loose poppies will find themselves spread throughout 12 towns in Gippsland including Newhaven, Cowes, Wonthaggi, Morwell, Warragul, Trafalgar, Briagolong, Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Orbost and Omeo staged by Creative Gippsland, Regional Arts Victoria and many community groups coming together.  You can find out more information in the weeks leading up to the event on the Regional Arts Victoria facebook page or website.

Displaying Creative Gippsland logo 2012.jpg          Displaying RAV logo black on white.jpg

The next major installation will be at the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May next year.  We are so excited about being invited to be a part of Chelsea … it really is the pinnacle of horticultural events world wide with a television audience on more than 3.5 billion … Of course our own Phillip Johnson‘s wonderful success story at Chelsea in 2013 probably had something to do with the invitation … nevertheless the Victorian Government through the Department of Premier and Cabinet has agreed to be our major sponsor for the event and we cannot thank Premier Daniel Andrews, the Minister for Veterans Affairs John Eren, the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee and their teams for their tireless work in finding the funding to get us to Chelsea .. it’s a coup for all of us and we are planning to do everyone proud.

Lynn and Phillip with the Minister for Veterans Affairs, the Hon John Eren MP

After Chelsea we are hoping to do a short but poignant tour of the Western Front … perhaps not with all the poppies but a portion … 2016 is a huge year in European war history and we would love to be able to share our wonderful community tribute in some way … more news on this as it unfolds.

Although the nets all stood up relatively well to the rigors of ANZAC Day … they are quite dirty and all of the glued poppies were damaged.  We lost most of the attached dedications in the rain as well and the nets have stretched somewhat with the weight.  Of course we want our poppies to be perfect to visit Her Majesty  in her home down, so we have spent the last 4 or 5 months removing, washing, repairing poppies and replacing them on to the nets.  It’s been a HUGE undertaking with a very small group of volunteer helpers in my home.  We have enjoyed the process and wonderful friendships have been cemented … not to mention the gorgeous foodstuffs consumed over lunch.  We have completed 40 nets and still have 40 to go and will need to step up our net repair program to meet our deadlines.

We also now also have the enormous task of creating 20,000 additional stemmed poppies to take with us.  This mammoth task will be coordinated for us by Susan McDougall … who many of you who worked with us on the nets in Melbourne will remember as our erstwhile coordinator.  So that will be an enormous but incredibly worthwhile task.  Australian Country Spinners have agreed to sponsor us with yarn to make the poppy stems … a whopping 70kg of premium acrylic yarn and we will be looking for teams of people to take on the task of making stems and assembling poppies around Victoria.  More on this in the next week or so when we are a little more advanced with our planning.

11080895_883766694999985_7080525445797966013_nIn the meantime … we need more poppies.  More more more.  We are looking to gather an additional 20,000 poppies for our stems.  I know that many of you have poppies waiting for a home … and would love to send them in to us.  We are quite precise in our requirements because these special poppies will need to be able to hold their own if it rains … so they must be tightly knit or crocheted and not too small.  We are suggesting using the same patterns used on the blog but with a size smaller hook or needle than you would normally use.   They must be red but you can get as creative as you like with your centres.  These babies are going to see the Queen (along with all the others of course).

So more news to follow … and I promise I will be good and post more often.

Hope we can get you on board to help us to manage the enormous task ahead of us … but one of course, that will be well and truly worth it.

Lynn

 

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For the Fallen : The Armed Man

Good morning poppy people.

The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and Melbourne University Choral Society are presenting a spectacular “For the Fallen” concert in Melbourne’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday 30 May at 8pm, and 5000 Poppies have been asked to decorate the Cathedral with many thousands of our gorgeous poppies in support of this very special concert to commemorate the ANZAC centenary.

For the Fallen / The Armed Man promises to be a moving and magnificent event, both visually and musically stunning.

Some 200 choral and instrumental musicians will perform a stunning program of works by composers including Australians Nathan Warfe, Colin Brumby, Christopher Willcock and Jenny Gill, as well as Edward Elgar’s WWI masterpiece “For the Fallen” and Karl Jenkins’ smash hit “The Armed Man (A Mass for Peace).

Melbourne University Choral Society will be joined by over 50 members of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and superb soloists including Merlyn Quaife AO, and Sally Anne Russell, conducted by Andrew Wailes.

We would love to see a huge contingent of poppy friends attending. It promises to be rather spectacular.

Tickets are available  from www.trybooking.com/HOHR

Please share this event widely with as many of your friends as possible and encourage them to book early to enable them to secure a good seat.

Find our more on the Facebook Event Page : https://www.facebook.com/events/386113254922837/

MUCS ANZAC POSTER with soloists CDT-mMSUsAAUcDR St Paul's CathedralFacebook 600x600 MUCS

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Thank You

Good morning poppy friends.

We are having a lovely afternoon tea on Sunday 24 May to celebrate our good works and to say a big thank you to all who have participated in this wonderful project.

Fed Square Sculpture 2So … we will be at the Kew RSL, 63 Cotham Road, Kew, this Sunday between 2.00 p.m until 5.00 p.m. for a cuppa and a catch up.

Please let me know for catering purposes if you will be coming along …. SMS or telephone Lynn on 0451023531

Marg and I would love to see you there.

 

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Post Installation …

Well now … the weeks are flying for me … still no time to rest although I must admit to a small sleep in this morning … We are still buoyed with the outcome of our fantastic installation in Fed Square and Princes Bridge … accolades for the project are still coming in and we think we ALL deserve them.  Every person, every poppy has had a part to play in the whole … and my goodness when I think about what we have achieved … I still need to be pinched.

Fed Square Banner Pic - CopyBut that was last week … this week we are still drying our poppy panels and will need to go over them in detail to get them ready for the next installation … and also looking at future plans.  We are removing another part of the installation from the Atrium fracture gallery at Fed Square tomorrow morning … but the static display in the Atrium and Deakin Edge fracture gallery will remain for another week.  These elements of the installation are, as you know, quite different from the “field” on the forecourt and equally beautiful.  If you haven’t had a chance to view … it’s still worth the visit.

Fed Square Deakin Edge

It’s interesting to me that the Anzac Weekend is a bit of a blur … much like planning a wedding … so many months in the planning and then the day disappears in a whirlwind.  I don’t remember much about the whole thing actually … it went so fast … in such a flurry of activity that I forgot to stop and smell the poppies … wet wool .. they smell like wet wool!

However, just because this part of the journey is coming to a close … I wanted to to let you know that we are not sitting idle … and so I want to share with you this week’s big news …

We have been invited (through our wonderful installation designer Phil Johnson) to take our poppies to the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016.  Almost from the start this was part of my “dream”, and now we have an opportunity to make it real.  The Chelsea Flower Show is set in the grounds of the historic Chelsea Hospital … which has great ties to many of the sick and wounded from WWI. Many a digger found himself (herself) repatriated to Chelsea from the fighting in Europe so the connection is strong.

There is still much work to be done before it happens not the least of which will be to find funding  … but we have support from many people who can help us to make it happen.  And so the machinations begin.

I am also hoping that if we are able to get this off the ground (which I have no doubt we will) that we will also be able to organise travel and tours to complement our journey for our many followers, so that we will be able to travel as a group and share the love … that, I must admit, sounds REALLY good to me.

So …. did you think it was all over?

It’s only just beginning!!!!!

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We Did It …

Good morning Poppy Friends … what an amazing day we have had in Melbourne …. truly … everything has just fallen into place with this amazing community project that we just assumed that the weather would play it’s part … could not have been more wrong.  It rained on an off all day … except however, as we did the mammoth job of moving the whole installation from Fed Square to Princes Bridge so the marchers could march through it … and again when we moved back to Fed Square.

It was a big day for us …. starting at 4.00 a.m. as we rolled up the 10 metre panels which were absolutely soaked … I think their start weight dry is approx 15 kg … wet … around 40 kg each.  Thank God for the men and women of the MFB – Melbourne Fire Brigade (and just quietly Paul Richie who had the connections).  Lifting those incredibly heavy loads looked so easy for them and they did it with a big smile twice in one day.  Huge thanks also to my very good friend Ian Cornwell from Doncaster Mitre 10 … with his truck … it made moving the load to and from Princes Bridge so much easier.  And of course … heartfelt thanks to all those who helped with the deinstall and reinstall … including my own very precious family.  And lastly … Phillip Johnson … what a dynamo that man is … the vision and the execution … he was a force to be reckoned with as he marshaled so many people into a cohesive team and Marg and I are SO grateful for his enormous will to get the job done … and what a job he did.  In retrospect I keep wondering to myself …. how would we have done it without the firies …. ever ambitious … I just knew it would happen somehow.

But the highlight of the day was the thrill for us as we watched the marchers march through the poppy field  … something I will personally never forget.

And at the conclusion of the march … straight back to Fed Square … rolled out and replaced in record time before the rains came again … and just in time for the helicopter fly over with the camera … to see a HUGE field of poppies again on the steps at Fed Square.

Congratulations all of you … an incredible job, incredibly well done.

So … what you have been waiting for … more pics. Not in any order at all … just random pics taken from a range of sources … I hope you don’t mind that I have borrowed them for a moment or two …

2 day fm 1  2 day fm 3 2 day fm 4 2 day fm 5 2 day fm 6 10531349_807359799333745_564366647146371044_o - Copy 11110458_10205797644877828_5077636319102971359_n - Copy 11146362_807359839333741_4299439458027239140_o - Copy 11146582_807359789333746_6358513492804649972_o - Copy Eureka Skydeck - Copy Fed Square Banner Pic - Copy Fed Square Poppy Princess - Copy Phil Lynn and Marg 1 Phils photos 2The MFB in full flight

 

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