Commemorative Awards: Lord Mayors Gift of Silver Poppies for WW2 Veterans
Gunnerman Lennon’s Poppy
In 2014 I was commissioned by the then Lord Major of North Down, Peter Martin to make 3 silver poppies as commemorative awards for 3 local WW2 veterans to be awarded to them on remembrance day.
Each Poppy was made one at a time and then assembled by hand.
Starting as a flat sheet of silver, the outside and inside petals of the poppies where handcut using a fine jewellers saw. So six petals were inidivually made althogether.
Then each of the sets of petals where hand formed with hammers to shape them. Again all hammered one at a time by hand – no shortcuts here – no ‘machine’ way to do this!
Next the central part of the poppy was formed from assembling a piece of silver using tube, a hand textured dome and each of the 10 stamens were soldered on one at a time. (So thats 30 hand made stamens and 30 solder joins!)
The poppy’s stem was also hand-forged out of a length of tapering wire with a little curved at the top for where it would join the flower head.
And then all the parts were soldered together – just like that – easy right? lol! Assembling all these pieces was pretty tricky and a bit nerve racking!!
You can see from the photos that the poppies look ‘white’ at some stages. This is the colour silver turns after it has been soldered and then cleaned in what we call ‘pickle’ (a mild acid). They look good this colour but at the end, when everything is assebled together and cleaned, the poppies were hand polished to a high shine.
For final touches, the central flower head, the stamens and the stem were all blackened to create a contrast in colour.
And finally a wooden base and plaque were made for each of the 3 poppies with a personalised inscription for each veteran!
And this is Gunnerman James Lennon pcitured above with all his medals and a picture of him just about to receive his award! They were presented to each veteran at local remebrance day celebrations in 2014.
James is a rather dashing and spritely gent that you can see zipping around our local town of Bangor on his motorised scooter wearing a cravat!!!
After he received his award, he came to visit me in my studio (on his scooter) to thank me for such a beautiful gift. He wanted to know all about how the piece had been made.
He also confessed to how he loved that my poppy was ‘well constrcuted’ and ‘substantial’ as he had recently been given a ceramic poppy which he had dropped and smashed (oops)! So he was thankful that might would ‘withstand a bit of abuse’. lol – gunnerman lennon is a bit of a comedian and a total charmer!!!
And I am thankful for the honour of creating these poppies and to have had the conversation with the gunnerman himself about his poppy!