5000 Poppies: a Community Project of Respect and Remembrance

The Flanders poppy was among the first plants to grow on the war-torn battlefields of France and Belgium during WWI. The sight of these vivid blooms inspired poetry in honour of the many lives lost and became a powerful symbol of sacrifice and remembrance. Now knitted and crocheted red poppies are a part of Remembrance Day rituals, both in Australia and internationally.

The 5000 Poppies Project began in 2013 as an idea by Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight to ‘plant’ 120 handmade poppies at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance in tribute – when word got out, it quickly became a Community Art Installation with a planned 5,000 poppies made by volunteers from the wider community. Since these humble beginnings more than 300,000 handcrafted poppies have been sent in from all around the world for a variety of projects.

Now the 5000 Poppies team have planned their final work – a stunning installation of approximately 62,000 poppies for Remembrance Day 2018 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Each handmade poppy will represent an Australian life lost in WWI and will carpet the War Memorial in an evocative dedication to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

People all around Australia have been enthusiastic about the idea; teachers are learning the craft in order to teach their students how to create poppies for the 2018 tribute and many volunteers have set up crafting groups to get together and help each other knit and crochet.

The final deadline is in July 2018 so there’s plenty of time to learn how to knit or crochet and spend some mindful time creating a beautiful poppy to be part of this piece of community art and remembrance.

Visit www.5000poppies.wordpress.com for more information including patterns, collection points, and workshops.