Remembrance Sunday, Crafting Peace
Remembrance is a part of our modern British life, culture and heritage. With remembrance come memories of a past once lived and we look backwards, rose-tinted, with a bittersweet nostalgia. But with remembrance comes responsibility. The Common Threads that link our past, present and future is the opportunity to look behind us and remember what has been and to learn from our mistakes so we become stronger in the face of inevitable adversity. Read More
The resilient poppy flower, which dotted the war torn countryside of Western Europe, has been a symbol of remembrance and hope representative of Remembrance Day. The large scarlet flowers flourished in the barren scenes of war torn destruction and they grew in their thousands. In May 1915, Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by a field of poppies in Ypres to pen the revered poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Moina Michael, an American academic, was inspired by McCrae’s poem to make silk poppies that were brought to England and sold on the 11th November in 1921. Since then, it’s been an iconic reminder to acknowledge our past.
After the Second World War, the poppy suffered a decline with the increasing use of herbicides and intensive agriculture that has since dramatically altered our British landscape. Ever resilient, the flower experienced a revival in the 1980s after policy reforms rewarded farmers for taking agricultural land out of production.
It’s in this delicate, four-petalled plant that we can adopt the inspiration of what it means to embrace Remembrance. Much like poppy seeds that can like dormant in soil for 80 years before germinating, we too can survive destruction and devastation, coming to bloom by rooting ourselves firmly. Remembrance is the trowel with which we reap our seeds and prosper.
“Scarce but well worth looking for”
We are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors to create a better future and it’s up to us to learn the lessons of the past through reflection.
How we make a change? What will we be remembered for? Our society is hurtling at an unstoppable pace and the only thing that can slow our immense and often-unaccountable traction is our ability to stop and ponder, to question and consider.
Gone are the days of locality, where each industry had a local vendor. Competition drove our industries to other shores, taking with it the hallmark of our heritage and stripping down our legacy until it’s a mere memory of “the greater days”. Lest we forget what made us strong and thriving, and what again still can.
“Useful work for anxious fingers”
Social times have greatly changed since the era of the First and Second World Wars, but our cultural anxiety is still deep-seated, shifted from war to more complex and threatening problems.
Such problems call for radical solutions – and nothing is more radical than going against the grain of the systems we have unwittingly evolved to by shifting towards a more conscious awareness.
We need to shop local, be conscientious of where things are made and know where they come from. By doing so, we’re crafting peace. It’s a form of social activism choosing to put your time and money into craft that’s born on the shores of your home country.
Innovation is our greatest tool, sharpened and poised to create and manifest realities that value simplicity and craftsmanship.
This is a call to arms to embrace our industrial roots and utilise our ingenuity for progress.
Our craft is our peace.