Join the Hunt for Stainless Steel Poppies!
Each year in the UK, the Sunday closest to the 11th November (which is Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of the First World War) is observed as Remembrance Sunday. It is a day dedicated to commemorating the contributions of servicemen and women, from both the military and civilian sectors, in both World Wars as well as more recent conflicts. This year, Remembrance Sunday will take place on November 13th.
One of the most widely-known symbols of this commemoration is the Remembrance Poppy, which is usually worn from November 2nd (All Souls Day) until Remembrance Sunday. The tradition was inspired by John McCrae's war poem 'In Flanders Fields' and has been observed since the end of the First World War.
Internationally-acclaimed sculptor Michael Turner from Lymington created a unique way to mark Remembrance Sunday which helps to raise much-needed funds for the Royal British Legion (RBL), a charity that provides emotional, social and financial support to veterans and members of Britain's Armed Forces and their families.
Every year since 2015, Turner has created a collection of poppy sculptures made from stainless steel. Delicately painted in the characteristic deep red colour, the poppies are hidden by Turner in and around the New Forest. People are then invited on what he calls a 'community treasure hunt'; those that are lucky enough to find a poppy can keep the unique sculpture after making a donation to the RBL.
Turner has handcrafted 22 poppies, 11 of which he intends to hide. He hides the poppies one by one, starting at first light at around 7am and hiding the last one at around 4pm as darkness begins to fall. "I always like to stay near to the final poppy as it gives me a chance to chat to some of the people that have been taking part," Turner explained. The collection this year includes one purple-coloured poppy, which honours service animals who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.
The other 11 stainless steel flowers will be auctioned and bids can be made by email or by private message on Instagram or Facebook. Turner has carried out this auction in previous years, with his fundraising total for 2021 hitting the £6,000 mark.
Turner offers a helping hand to those wishing to join in the hunt by posting clues to the poppies' locations on his Facebook and Instagram pages, on which he has 4,900 and 17,700 followers respectively. "This year’s hunt will mainly take place around the New Forest but I haven’t ruled out hiding a couple in the Highcliffe and Christchurch area,” he hinted.
Turner is no stranger to working with stainless steel; he specialises in sculpting life-sized replicas of animals including birds of prey, alligators, horses and even mythical creatures. One of his sculptures, a full-sized representation of a gorilla, can be found in Gordon Ramsay's flagship restaurant in London.
In addition to its many industrial and commercial applications, stainless steel is being used more and more as an artistic medium by contemporary artists. BS Stainless has supplied stainless steel wire to two such artists: Robin Wight and Candice Bees; for more information about these artists and the work they have made using stainless steel wire from BS Stainless, please check out past editions of our blog.