In Flanders Fields by Jo Butcher
17th August 2018
One of the magnificent things about needlework is that every stitcher and every project they stitch has a story. And we love sharing those stories.
This week we’re featuring the project ‘In Flanders Fields’ from Inspirations #99 by the very talented Jo Butcher, along with Jo’s own personal back story to this stunning piece.
‘In 2014 I saw the Tower of London Poppy Tribute art installation which featured 888,246 ceramic poppies, each one representing a Commonwealth military fatality during the war. With 2018 being the centenary since the end of the war it seemed fitting to stitch my own tribute.’
‘Whilst I was sewing this project, it was made even more poignant, as my daughter Sophie was on a school history trip to Belgium and the WWI battlefields. She visited many of the commonwealth cemeteries and found my Great Uncle, her Great, Great Uncle James’ name commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial.’
‘She then had the honour of laying a wreath, at the last post ceremony held daily at the Menin Gate memorial, which bears the names of 54,389 officers and men from United Kingdom and Commonwealth Forces.’
In Flanders Fields is worked over a painted background with the stalks of wheat and flowers stitched from background to foreground, building up layers of thread. Blue sky, ripening wheat and the bright splashes of red poppies form an idyllic scene in this beautiful embroidered panel.
Jo was also kind enough to also give us a few expert tips on how to go about creating our own Flanders Field:
‘When it comes to painting, have plenty of fabric to practise on. And relax, crafting is therapy, basically it’s grown up play!’
‘Build the layers slowly and take breaks to assess your composition, it’s important not to over sew, sometimes a little less is more!
A temporary mount is a great way to focus the eyes on the composition. Put it in place when you pause or have finished for the day and then prop it up. This way when you see it again you’ll look at it with fresh eyes and will be able to assess what needs adding and where.’
Thank you, Jo for yet another ‘oh so Jo-beautiful’ project. With so much emotion and significance in this piece, it is sure to find a place in the hearts of many of us as we look to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War later this year.
Did You Know?
The name ‘In Flanders Fields’ comes from Lieutenant-Colonel
John McCrae’s beautiful poem which he wrote during World War I and has gone on to immortalise the red poppy as the iconic symbol of remembrance.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.— John McCrae
Make Your Own | In Flanders Fields
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
In Flanders Fields by Jo Butcher is a beckoning meadow scene filled with red poppies and golden wheat.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for In Flanders Fields includes everything you need to re-create this idyllic scene: Fabric (unprinted), embroidery threads and needles.