Tunstall pupils create stunning poppy artwork for Remembrance Day


Stoke-on-Trent pupils from The Co-Operative Academy pupils have been showing a lot of bottle today after they unveiled a poppy display they have been working on since September.

The youngsters have been making poppies from the bottoms of drinks bottles for a stunning art installation.

Their artwork was inspired by the ceramic Tower of London installations ‘The Wave’ and ‘The Weeping Willow’ in 2014.

Sarah Turner-Bradbury, Head of Art at the Tunstall school, is the brains behind the project.

She said: “We wanted to make Armistice Day more of a celebration because we are a multicultural school.”

The plastic poppy installation is hanging from the roof of the school, waving down onto the quad. Poppy instillation

The school opened its doors today for members of the public to view the artwork.

The beauty of the work brought one parent, who had served in the army for 24 years, to tears.

And he said this was the reason he sent his son to the school.

Lorraine Higgs, who helped Sarah with the project, wanted to do something do to with recycling.

“We get a lot of waste at the school, like plastic bottles,” she said.

“When you start working out how many students they are and they all have a bottle each, we thought it would be a brilliant idea to recycle them,” Sarah added.

Sarah wanted the piece to be made up of more than 1,200 plastic poppies.

The students have been working on the project since the beginning of term.

The final artwork has exceeded this number, with more than 2,000 produced.

Elizabeth Garrity, director of transition and recruitment at the school, decided to get the local community involved.

She engaged members of community groups such as Middleport Matters, Feral Spaces and Swan Bank Church.

It was important for Elizabeth to get the community involved as Middleport Pottery will be homing the original Poppy instillationTower of London poppies in 2018.

The school plan to leave their own instillation up for the centenary alongside Middleport Potteries exhibit.

Amelia Blisson, from Middleport Matters, said: “It has been rewarding to have a direct link with the school and help the young people with their project.

“It’s so important for us all to remember what our soldiers did for us and it is fitting to work together as a community to do that.

“We hope this is the first of many community projects we can take part in with the school.

“It’s great to make better links with the school because their young people are the same as our young people.

“It’s great that we can work together for the same goal.”

School Principle Nick Lowry said he was incredibly proud of the children and the artwork they’ve produced.

He said: “The academy have always been big supporters of British values and what makes the country great.

“Our school is in an area rich in heritage and culture, with the ceramics industry in particular.

“We wanted children to understand that a lot of the London poppies were made in Johnson’s factory, which used to be next to our school.

“I walked in yesterday and the first word was just ‘wow’.

“It really does stand out and take your breath away. It’s just stunning.”

And to ‘top’ it all off, Sarah and Lorraine are planning another project – by recycling the thousands of bottle tops.

See our special video report on this story, below.


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