Review: Collateral Damage – white poppy-making *****

Art & Craft hands-on workshop

Collateral Damage – white poppy-making

Edinburgh Quaker Meeting House, venue number 40

14.00-17.00 (ends 18 August)

***** (5 stars)

November this year marks the centenary of the end of World War One. That war killed about 17 million people and injured some 20 million others: it was hoped that it was “the war to end all wars”. Alas, this is not the case: the second World War resulted in some 60 million deaths, and in the second half of the 20th century some 100 million people lost their lives. Now, with war seemingly everywhere, over 90% of casualties are civilians – not just people killed in fighting or by bombs, but those who are injured or lose their homes, their families and their livelihoods and in many cases become refugees in the hopes of reaching safety. Other people die from famine or disease, or carry war injuries and traumas the rest of their lives, while in some countries people who refuse to join an army may be persecuted, imprisoned, or killed.

The Collateral Damage project was set up to commemorate some of those people who have lost their lives in wars in which they were not engaged. We are invited to create white poppies, which are then displayed as a reminder to us all of the people who have died: it is hoped that, while making these poppies, we might also think about how we can create a more peaceful future for the world in which we all live. There will be a large national installation of poppies in London this November, to which you can add your poppy if you wish. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/whitepoppies2018 or www.ppu.org.uk/collateral-damage

The Meeting Room at the Quaker Meeting House – where last week Robert and Issy celebrated their marriage and remembered everyone who suffered before homosexuality was decriminalised – becomes, between 2 and 5pm each day this week, a peaceful refuge from the madness of Edinburgh in August. A large table is covered with scraps of fabric, lace, wool, needles, thread, buttons and ribbons – everything you might need to help you create your poppy. You can sew, knit, crochet, felt, and even just plain Cut And Stick your poppy, which will then be added to the wicker wreath standing on an easel in the room. You don’t have to be a skilled needleperson – help is at hand from various members of the Quaker Artists Group.

I strongly recommend this oasis of calm in the midst of the maelstrom: you don’t have to book, just turn up any time between 2 and 5pm each day, and get creating, secure in the knowledge that while calming yourself, you are also contributing a tiny bit to making the world a more peaceful place.

Mary Woodward