Shrewsbury 'yarn bombers' cover abbey’s ancient doors with poppies in tribute

A Shropshire group of "yarn bombers" have commemorated the Remembrance period by decorating ancient doors of Shrewsbury Abbey with over 200 knitted and sewn poppies.

Isla Hunwick with her daughter Rose, aged two, outside the decorated Shrewsbury Abbey doors for Remembrance Day
Isla Hunwick with her daughter Rose, aged two, outside the decorated Shrewsbury Abbey doors for Remembrance Day

The idea came from Isla Hunwick, of Castlefields Yarn Bombers, who said: "I was inspired by another knitted poppy project I was involved with a couple of years ago in London.

"I love the west doors of the abbey and thought the poppies would look really striking against it.

"In a year where all the events at the abbey have been cancelled and it's been hard to bring the community together, I thought this could be a really good project that we could work on individually and then put it together to create a truly special installation.

"It allowed us to 'be together even when we were apart'.

Isla Hunwick with the decorated doors.

"I joined the Castlefields Yarn Bombers not long after moving to Shrewsbury 20 months ago. Unfortunately all of our big yarn bombing projects for this year have been cancelled, so I thought this was a really good project we could all work together on during lockdown.

"We started making them at the end of the summer. There are 237 poppies. They have been knitted, crocheted, felted and sewn – some are embellished with embroidery, beads and sequins. There are hundreds of hours of work that has gone into them.

"They were put up on Tuesday. It took about 11 man hours to affix the netting on to the medieval doors – just with string so there was no damage to the Grade One listed structure – and attach all the poppies. They have been sewn and pinned to the garden netting.

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"Lovelyland and Clare Bear have been at the very centre of this project and Shrewsbury Abbey and Lovelyland will be working on many future collaborations together. We are all ready planning a spring flower installation.

"We will be keeping the poppies up until after November 11 and keeping them for future projects and installations.

"Originally we were going to have them in place for Remembrance Sunday, but with the Wilfred Owen memorial service this week and the newly renovated Symmetry memorial I decided to bring the install date forward, as it seemed fitting."

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