This exhibition has now closed, however as it was such a huge success we have decided to keep the information on our website until 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
From Cornwall alone, more than 6000 people lost their lives.
In recognition of this centenary Cornwall Crafts Association invited its members to produce a piece of work in commemoration of the First World War.
Each piece is a very personal expression whose origins and creation arise from the alchemy of thought that recognises this world-changing event.
We hope you will spend a moment to reflect and appreciate each piece and find the exhibition both thought provoking and stimulating.
This one off exhibition from Cornwall Crafts Association has moved from Trelissick House and will be opening at Trelowarren Gallery on the 10th September and will run until 31st October. If you have missed it there you will still be able to view this exquisite body of work at Truro Cathedral from 11th November.
Poppies have become the accepted emblem of the soldiers of the 1st World War but so often they are depicted in some dreamlike landscape of peace. The soldiers’ perspective however was from the bottom of trenches where their view was of soil and sky and the sky itself was filled with war.
In this artwork the ephemeral, blood red poppies reach up towards that warring sky, brilliantly illuminated, easily crushed, and yet returning again and again despite the carnage.
An exploration of the loss, hope and love of people across the classes in Europe during the 1st World War.
I found my way in this project not through my own family history; none of my own family’s stories have survived to reach my generation. My interpretation has come through the poetry and letters of the people of the day, the personal testaments of people who lived through this tragic, dramatic and heroic chapter in our history.
The work takes the form of porcelain dishes, a familiar object, luxurious and mundane simultaneously, symbolic of home, security and comfort. I have inscribed the pieces with quotes from the war years. Families often received their news from the front when sitting to breakfast.
It is these words that will carry the real story of WW1 through the generations.
Please see bibliography for details.
My woodcut centres around a German poem of the First World War by the expressionist poet Richard Fischer. I first read it as a student and for the first time I saw two sides to the war that I had learned about as a child in Cornwall. The poem struck me as particularly moving, although it is written sparely. The message is a universal one of the horror of war, and the emotions of the soldiers on both sides who found themselves in a landscape and situation beyond their comprehension.
My woodcut includes all the images I associate with the First World War – emblems of the military, but also peace and the Celtic crossed from war memorials in Cornwall.
As I looked at the co-operation between birds and people in the First World War, I was touched by a short story about bird watchers – soldiers mending a branch and replacing a bombed out nest, where the chicks and parents survived. Such care, such devastation, such humanity amidst mad cruelty.
Pigeons on the front line were used as vital lines of communication. Both sides used pigeons and both sides attempted to interrupt the pigeons with heavy artillery fire and the use of hawks to hunt them. Some pigeons achieved extraordinary feats, getting home through heavy artillery fire, bad weather and injury. Many planes and ships took pigeons with them, to be released if their craft fell behind enemy lines, or were disabled or destroyed.
I asked of myself how to express a sense of acceptance and peace from WW1 in simple bowls.
My focus is on the human tragedy of war and the indefatigable renewal emerging from desolation.
Historically periods of conflict create heightened emotion and instability propelling many to respond impetuously and in some cases marry young. The imperative is for continuation.
My work on display here is an interpretation of this trajectory.
The headpiece, constructed of rusted barbed wire, rolled between the opposing armies and here supports a carrion crow beaking a band of gold from No Man’s Land.
Many men lost their wedding rings in the mud of the trenches and crows reaped their bitter harvest.
The full blown poppy dress illustrates recolonization of the bloodied fields and churned earth.
Reseeding new life and beauty.
The young, pregnant widow combines it all.
Love, loss, sorrow, struggle and renewal.
The piece I have designed for the World War One Centenary exhibition is based on a personal family story. My great uncle was a machine gunner for the 5th Royal Scots and was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme at 19 years of age. I am interested in how his sad story affected the rest of his family so the automaton revolves around photos of his family and excerpts from a poignant letter from his Grandma that she sent to France just two weeks before his death. I wanted to encapsulate Great Uncle Jim alongside his bereaved family, so I have etched old family photos onto copper and attached them to a carousel that spins around the soldier, much as his thoughts of home must have done all those years ago.
The dazzle idea was the brainchild of British Marine artist Norman Wilkinson (1878–1971). Wilkinson realised that no camouflage would conceal a ship, but was it possible to do the opposite? A ‘camouflage’ so eye-catching it would dazzle and therefore disorientate the enemy! It was an idea inspired by Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism.
The idea of optical illusion and deceiving the eye with line, colour and pattern has always been an important element in my work. Using the woven Tapestry technique, I have introduced the idea of wave movement into the theme of the Dazzle Ships camouflage. The colours also make reference to the dark bleakness of a bloody war.
I have used paper porcelain to make my work, which I hope will present the fragility and transience of life as well as the joy of re-growth. These vessels evoke the image of commemoration with the impression of flowers, particularly poppies that are also symbols of hope, dreams and remembrance.
A letter home from the WW1 trenches has been copied and re-written in stitch.
Letters were the main form of communication at this time, no modern technology. This letter is one of two billion that were sent during the war. It honours the personal experience and sacrifice of the individual soldier and his comrades – ‘lest we forget’.
The letter is a very personal message from son to mother. It demonstrates his love for his mother and wider family as well as members of his community. These were the people he was fighting for and willing to die for.
The letter is written on patches of cotton reflecting the soldier’s need to patch their uniforms. The tea dye hints at the trench mud and the red the blood spilt.
I have honoured his words, courage, bravery and his compassion.
This was Jack’s last letter before ‘going over the top’ I don’t know if it was ever sent.
This work, in two parts, is a collaboration between woodturner John Theobald and woodcarver Brian Marks.
The first piece, ‘The Plate of Remembrance’, made of Sycamore, roughly 51cm in diameter, depicts a trench with three soldiers protected by sandbags in relief carving, seen through a ‘pierced’ fence upon which crosses of remembrance (all hand carved) have been placed. The familiar words ‘Lest We Forget’ from the poem ‘Recessional’ by Rudyard Kipling, are inscribed on the outer rim.
We will Remember
The second piece, a candle stand made in Oak and standing 1 metre high, is a representation of war. Heavy foreboding at the base, climbing up through pain and adversity — symbolised by barbed wire coiling around the pillar — finally reaching the light of peace and reconciliation at the top, represented by a large, white candle. ‘We Will Remember Them’ is carved round the base, while the upper dish supporting the candle bears the inscription ‘1914-1918’.
I am delighted to be participating in such an exciting exhibition in which I use precious family photos of both my Grandfathers lives in World War One. I have produced a collection of coiled pots as an homage to Captain William Murdoch (Paternal) and Edward Thomas James (Maternal).
Captain William Murdoch was born in Australia and enrolled in the Infantry Battalion as a Bugler. In 1915 he fought at Gallipoli and then later at The Somme, where he was awarded the CDM for courageous action and was wounded. Later, William was captured and was a POW but tried escaping several times.
Cornish born Edward Thomas James of Truro fought at Passchendaele in 1917. He fought bravely and was wounded by shrapnel.
I have also produced some smaller pieces of work by reviewing a section of the poem by Wilfred Owen (“Dulce et decorum est”), and created contemporary pieces using sombre coloured slips and silhouette images.
For this exhibition Lisa has explored the aspect of homecoming to ‘Thankful’ villages (where all those who left to serve came home again). The only one in Cornwall, Herodsfoot, is recreated in her series of three metal pictures.
‘The Thankful Village’ depicts Herodsfoot as viewed from the War Memorial. It is inspired by the poem by twenty-year-old Charles Sorely (who was killed in action the following day) starting with the line “There, where the rusty iron lies”.
‘The Homecoming’, shows a glimpse of the Herodsfoot memorial to men returned from the war. This picture was inspired by Cicely Fox-Smith’s poem ‘Home Lad Home’, which evokes the memory of the return journey from the fields after a long days harvest, or from the battlefields of war.
‘Nanshiryath’ means ‘The stream at the foot of the long hill’ in the Cornish language. This is the name by which Herodsfoot was originally known.
Margot Hartley’s inspiration for the WW1 Centenary Exhibition.
A woman carries a lamp
into the eyes of wounded soldiers
This legacy continues through
a lantern of nursing.
She cuts the copper
it cuts like paper
on the line
neither beside or over –
and covers the brass shell case
secured with solder.
Once a lantern of paper
fragile in form
now made of copper
strong in purpose
like that of the soldier.
A blast from a bomb
A bullet travels depths
deep into the flesh
releasing the brass shell case
to hide in the grassless ground
of mud and broken bodies.
Later it’s found; retrieved; collected;
to say something else
through the hands
the pull of the trigger
but fashion perhaps
an enduring chain of lanterns
where hope is sustained
bringing the heart alive
with the courage
we all need to survive.
Margot Hartley 3/5/16
This collection is inspired by Major John McCrae’s 1915 poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. Perhaps the most poignant aspect of the design for me is the space created between the threads, which represents the void left by the loss of the soldiers felt by their loved ones.
The lie of the petals shows the quarrel and conflict between the two sides, as well as representing the binding faith and belief of the soldiers in their cause.
A “Thankful Village” was one of the number of 53 villages in England and Wales that were fortunate enough to see the safe return of all their men and women after the Great War. Most of these villages do not have any war memorial, although some have monuments, expressing gratitude for their good fortune.
I have used a local stoneware clay fired in a gas kiln to 1320’C and have represented each village by a small, hand thrown, stoneware bowl, as a sign of hope for the future – each on a raised black plinth, representing the sadness and bleak times of war.
The sacrifice of the men and women who volunteered for their country, each life lost, is to be remembered and respected equally. If a community was lucky enough to welcome back everyone who had left, that is surely something for which we can all be thankful.
Designed with a single purpose, the bullet is a harbinger of destruction.
Through the creative process this sinister element is transformed.
Both pendants are functional. The vase can carry tiny flowers.
The bottle is a miniature reliquary to contain the ashes of loved ones departed.
We honour those that served by acknowledging the lessons of war.
I have created a piece of work to somehow capture the experience of my Grandfather during the Great War.
65591 Gunner Gilbert Jackson served at the front with the Royal Garrison Artillery, operating the Howitzer Mark Guns. They fired 2″ shells and these were design to cause maximum number of deaths and casualties. In particular the shells were designed with various materials to fracture spraying red hot shrapnel. They are deemed to have been the single most destructive weapon of the war.
Produced in huge numbers, the shells have a beauty that distracts from their lethal abilities. The shells were often salvaged and even became mementoes. Perhaps umbrella stands.
My grandfather was 32 years old, and the father of 2 little boys when he was conscripted. He was badly injured from return shelling, losing toes and having shrapnel buried in his hip bone.
He needed aid to walk for the rest of his life, but he was a lucky one.
I wanted to create an evocative display portraying inner feeling of pain, suffering, strength and sorrow that soldiers and their families endured.
Producing worn cloth showing hidden meaning through text by Robert Lawrence Binyon 1869 -1943.
I hope the viewing of the Silk Velvet evokes some of the emotion that I have felt in creating it.
Trenches blood barbed wire sadness sorrow
Blood gunshots smoke blasts loneliness loss
No time for tears, death and fuelled emotion
Dark dreary mud filled fields with bodies and pain
Strong soldiers and emotion, friendships, memories never forgotten.
Generation of Memories, 1914 – 1918 WW1
My banner is a commemoration of the First World War and depicts the support workers — ambulance drivers, firemen, munitions workers etc. — as well as British Tommies. I wanted to depict them as shadowy figures (the ghosts in our past) amongst the now iconic Poppies.
I have an interest in the tin hat as my Great-Grandfather (Beeny) was the model for the sculpture by Epstein which is in the War Museum in London, “The British Tommy”, affectionately known as “The Tin Hat”. He peers out from one side!
Finding a positive legacy from WW1 is difficult; it is so closely associated with loss and destruction. However, The Representation of the People, 4th Reform Act, passed during the span of WW1, allowed some women to vote. It was the start of female suffrage.
Was the act passed as a result of suffragette activism, suffragist lobbying or an acknowledgement of women’s wartime work? That is for historians to answer.
My response, here in clay, is intended to celebrate some of the Cornish women who made outstanding contributions to the war effort. As for Annie Williams, aloft with her ballot paper: she was a Cornish woman and former head teacher who gave up her job to work as a travelling organizer for the Women`s Social and Political Union. Suffragettes like her halted their campaigns at the outbreak of war, but they had made women think. Who knows where it might lead?
With thanks for the help of the Cornish Studies Centre in Redruth
Choosing the right stone to suit the subject is an important factor in carving. Alabaster with different shades and a crusty looking surface lends itself to my “Over the top, Boys”. I understand that bodies piled up in the trenches covered in mud and possibly suffering the effects of mustard gas which I have tried to depict in this sculpture.
“Tears for the lost generation” is more typical of my work. I hope its simplicity evokes compassion for all those women and children who lost their loved ones in that terrible war.
As a young man my father surfed all year .
He taught me and still had his large,1930’s, board made from a single piece of ash.
I have now made more than 10 boards each decorated with a different image but all called The Rogers Woody.
This one has an image of my grandfather .
He had run away to sea as a result of ill treatment from his stepmother and started life on square rigged ships .
Through out the First War he served as an officer in the Merchant Navy.
His ship carried oil and he was in constant danger of being torpedoed.
When surfing I always feel the next wave will be better .
So many men left for the war with the optimism of returning .As they left home and looked back their smile and wave was the last thing their loved ones saw as so many never returned
All quiet on the Western Front
The image on this board is taken from the painting St Just Tin miners by Harold Harvey .
The only artist of the Newlyn School to be born in Cornwall.
It was painted in 1935 with a rather flat treatment in a poster like style.
The models were two local men Sidney Angove and Nicholas Grenfell.
I have always loved this painting and its soft tonal quality.
The miners faces remind me of the black and white photographs of soldiers sitting in the trenches, often smoking and looking directly into the camera.
I have dressed the character on the right in uniform.
I imagine them thinking of families, girlfriends and the St Just landscape.
If I was stuck in the mud tragic desolation of trench warfare I know I would dream of Cornwall and the coast to the West and that moment of quiet reflection would help me to survive .
‘My work is always botanical, and with an existing poppy collection, it seemed only right to follow the theme with this iconic flower, always synonymous with war and memories. In the war poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, for me, the most poignant words are ‘We are the dead. Short days ago…We Loved and were loved’. This line speaks of the living, those who loved, those who are left with nothing but memories. The memories and stories of a lost loved one are the only part that can live on forever, through the living. And so I wanted these new Poppy pieces (usually based on the pod) to be based on the living flower. And of course, the only stone that lives forever, is a diamond.’
At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, my father Vivian Frances Prideaux (1896-1983) enlisted almost immediately, taking a commission in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, where he met Robert Graves (1895-1985). They were good friends (father being a witness at Robert’s marriage to Nancy Nicholson Ruthin 1918) They corresponded all their lives, meeting at intervals and always singing their salutation song ‘Oykes’ when they met.
100 years on and their images captured in 1914 still take my breath away – their youth, their innocence and desire to do the ‘right thing’ – throwing them into an adulthood haunted and scared by a bloody, harrowing and pointless war.
It has been interesting and exciting to research the local history of World War One in Cornwall and to discover local stories and view images from that period. I found the working roles of women images to be particularly interesting and decided to make this a focus for my work. Women undertook work in munition factories, transportation, land work, nursing and the services. Many were undertaking these roles for the first time and this changed the lives of many women during and after the war period. The process of recreating the photographic images stirred me to consider their experiences and their feelings about the war. Did the work help them to cope with the uncertainty and devastation of the war? How did they feel about making munitions?
The work recreates and brings to life again the photographic images from WW1 archives, translating the images into a woven textile using a digital loom. The images are displayed as cushions, ‘soft places’ which create a place to rest and reflect.
Lozenge camouflage was a military camouflage used by some aircraft of the Central Powers in various forms and colors from late 1916 until the end of the war. Painting the pattern was very time consuming, and because paint also added considerably to the weight of the aircraft, the patterns were printed onto fabric and applied.
Historians argue that the First World War was a turning point for women in Britain. In reality, the post war development of women’s political and economic rights was slow to develop. Women’s work was still largely domestic, frequently in service, poorly paid and considered inferior to men’s work. However, even before the formation of the women’s services, some pioneering women made their own way to the front to help the war effort.
In 1914, when the War Office turned down an offer of help from Scottish doctor Elsie Inglis with the words, ‘My good lady, go home and sit still’, she set up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the fighting fronts.
Inglis herself went to Serbia to treat the sick and wounded. In April 1916, Elsie Inglis became the first woman to be awarded the Order of the White Eagle (V class) by the Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia at a ceremony in London.