Friday, November 11, 2011

IF: Silent

Today's theme for Illustration Friday is "Silent", which seems appropriate since today, here in the US it is also Veteran's Day. So here is a moment of silence.........for all the brave men and women who have fought and defend us in wars. Much of Europe also celebrates with Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.
Interestingly, Armistice Day marks the official end of World War One..." Starting on the Eleventh hour, on the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month", now, today it will be celebrated on the eleventh year of the new millennium.
My grandmother was a War Mother, an organization of mothers whose son's were soldiers. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you again see the the blue stars banners on the back of cars and in store fronts. In my grandmother's time, my uncle was in Vietnam, but many of the War Mother's sons fought in World War 2, blue stars were hung in the windows of the houses. A blue star for each son fighting. A silver star for each son wounded and a gold star for each son killed. My grandmother was a Gold Star Mother.
Poppies also are the flower of remembrance both in the US and in Europe.
When I was little, every year I would sit at my grandma's house and help her make tissue paper poppies in preparation of Veteran's Day.
To make, use a cardboard template- I think my grandma's pattern might of been five points, but four is way easier and don't think it will make that much difference once the layers are crunched up. We made little poppies to wear, maybe 1 and 1/2 inch, to give to people when they made a donation, the ladies would set up downtown for the day....these are bigger, but basically trace a circle and then cut the petal divisions, pinking or scalloping the edges.
I would be in charge of stacking squares of red tissue paper, I believe it was five, she would count when she was crumpling the layers and let me know if I got it wrong. We used tissue paper, I happen to have some pretty handmade red paper.
From the back, staple through all five layers, sandwiching a stick for a stem in the center- there was a knack on the tiny poppies we were making, to get the staple in the right place, we used pipe cleaners for the stems, I recall. I am using a craft stick, so not only did I stapled it, but put a dot of glue there are well.
Flip the poppy over and one layer at a time, scrunch them up, when you get done adjust to make it look like a poppy!
Adding my own flair, I stitched in three black buttons for the center, and there you have it!
The Blue Star embroidery, I picked up at a yard sale, for like 50cents. Mabe me sad that it was discarded like that and I adopted it, as it's keeper for whoever's mother stitched it, probably by the style of it from before World War 2, I have it in my studio and I won't forget, nor let my children!


  1. I love the blue star embroidery. What a treasure from an important time.

    I've done the same thing. Found an oil painting of a woman at a yard sale that I had to rescue. I have no idea who did it or who is the subject but I know it was important to someone in the past....I enjoy following your work.


  2. I love your "silent" illustration. It's beautiful! And the paper poppies are so cool! Great remembrance post.