Good morning team Poppy. Just a quick note to introduce you to Lynn Berry (that’s me in the middle) and Marg Knight (that’s her on the left) aka Cow & Chicken. We are the creators of the amazing 5000 Poppies Project … and I say amazing because it started out as a tiny very personal tribute to our fathers back in 2013, and has morphed into this incredible nationwide (worldwide) outpouring. That IS amazing.
The good looking bloke on the right is Phil Johnson (Phillip Johnson Landscapes). Apart from being Australia’s premier landscape designer (winning the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold and Best in Show in 2013), Phil and his team have been the designers and project managers of each of our major installations along the way … Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (2015), Federation Square (Anzac Day 2015), Chelsea Flower Show (2016), Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles, France (2016), and will again work with us to create the installation at the Australian War Memorial … it’s easy to say but you are just sticking poppies in the ground … but the truth is … the logistics are incredibly complex with installations of this kind and Phil and his team do an outstanding job with much flair and aplomb. We love them.
Marg and I are so proud of what we’ve achieved. In the main, because it has given an opportunity to every one of us to be involved in something truly beautiful as a tribute of respect and remembrance. And … we are so grateful for your wonderful contribution to not only our past installations, but also the next two major phases of the project. One … to create a stunning world class art installation featuring more than 60,000 poppies in honour of those who fought and died in WWI, which is a monumental undertaking. But on top of that (as if that wasn’t enough) we have also undertaken to create 50,000 poppies for RSL Vic for the 2018 Poppy Appeal. You can read more about all of this on the blog 5000poppies.wordpress.com
But we haven’t done it alone. There is a wonderful team of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, and who have been with us almost from the start. These people have helped to shape this ever expanding project into what we see now. And, we could not have achieved what we have achieved without them.
The person you see here is Kate Moloney (that’s Kate in what I think is the best selfie ever). Kate works directly with me tirelessly on every phase of the project … silently and efficiciently … and has been a brilliant support.
And then there is Ted Baillieu … our unofficial patron … who has been behind us all the way. Former Premier of Victoria, and now Chairman of the Anzac Centenary Committee, Ted has been known to say that he thinks 5000 Poppies is one of the most important community art installation in the history of our nation and he has also been instrumental in helping us to achieve that status.
At the risk of repeating myself over and over … what we have undertaken is huge (four years of work … and well over a million man hours … by many, many people), and it is so important to us that Marg and I both gave up our jobs to do it. So you can appreciate that we want the very best outcome for EVERY installation we do, whether it’s on the world stage or not.
There have been many groups who meet regularly to catch up for some quality time making and sharing … it’s an important part of the process and there are many more teaming up to create for our final installation at the AWM.
I was asked on Anzac Day 2015 by one of Melbourne’s foremost journalists “what does this project mean to you now Lynn” … and my answer was … “Apart from the obvious … showing our gratitude to those who have served, their families and their communities, for me its about community and connection”. Working to a common purpose, creating something amazing, working with likeminded people, creating new friendships, sharing the joy of creating, sharing patterns and stories … creating community spirit … and … connections across many layers … connecting with our heritage, our personal stories, our ancestors, our shared history … it’s very, very special. And it continues to be very special.
So … welcome to our world. We love it that you have joined us.
Now, back to basics … our admins are myself, Marg, Sarah Worley, and we will soon add a couple more … but there are a number of other people who have been with us forever and are an integral part of every decision we make. Sometimes you will see comments from them on the facebook group. As you can appreciate … there are now many thousands of posts on the group … with over 11,000 members (8000 of whom are relatively new to the group), that’s no surprise. The admins don’t get to see all posts anymore … but if there is something that you need to know directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak … and you can’t find the answer on the pinned post or FAQ on the blog, please feel free to tag one of the the admins.
Lynn and Marg