Remembrance Poppies And Puttees Create Poignant Great War Artwork

It was a set of puttees owned by her late father that inspired a Wiltshire artist to create the ‘Binding The Past To The Present Through...

A textile artist has created a powerful art installation featuring 5,000 felt poppies which have been stitched into the leg wrappings used by soldiers during the First World War - using the same company that made the uniform accessory at the time of the Great War.

The Wiltshire-based artist who created the piece, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was inspired to create the poignant work after her father gave her his puttees.

Suzie Gutteridge has enlisted a variety of local community workshops to help in the creation of ‘Binding The Past To The Present Through Remembrance’ in a display at Salisbury Cathedral.

All of the poppies have been stitched into 100 puttees - leg wrappings worn by soldiers - one piece to commemorate each year since the Great War. She said:

"Each of these poppies is representing a fallen soldier."

The puttees being used in this unique project were made by Fox Brothers and Co Ltd, a Somerset-based company that supplied puttees to the British Army and which is still in business today.

British Army long khaki wool woven puttees Imperial War Museum © IWM (UNI 12257)
Long khaki wool woven puttees © IWM (UNI 12257)

As part of the making process, the hand-felted poppies were scattered over a 'field of puttees' laid on the cathedral grounds.

This not only acted as a unique distribution of poppies on each puttee but also acts as a symbolic representation of fallen soldiers in the battlefield.

"It's about remembering all those people who gave their lives for us."

Forces Radio BFBS reporter Chris Sturgess met Suzie Gutteridge at her exhibition and spoke to her about the inspirational artwork.

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