Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

CFPR Laser Studio : One thousand poppies created from wartime love letters


A thousand paper poppies made from copies of love letters written during World War II have been used in an art installation at Exeter Northcott. The 2.7m high installation has been created specially for the theatre foyer for the month of November by paper artist Gillian Taylor who has used copies of letters loaned by local people following a request in the media. The poppies were laser cut by Tom Sowden at the CFPR Laser Bureau in Bristol.

Gillian’s work is influenced by her interest in how we communicate and how that has changed over the years. She said:  “The letters were all written at a time of great uncertainty and heightened emotions. Sometimes people didn’t know when they were going to see their loved one again and the letters really show that. The handwriting is beautiful, and so is the content. I hope that this piece of art will encourage people to think about what that might have been like – the excitement and the fear.”

The letters contain messages of love and longing, information about training and wartime life, and concerns for missing friends and relations.

The work was inspired by letters written by an aircraft engineer in Southampton to his girlfriend, who later became his wife.

Gillian’s other work includes framed arrangements of poppies printed onto Japanese papers, collections of tiny envelopes and miniature postcard bundles. Information about this and other work is available at: http://gilliantaylor.wordpress.com



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The Centre for Fine Print Research has been working with staff and MA Print students for almost 3 decades, to produce an annual show of limited edition prints. The show is sponsored by John Purcell Paper who supply paper stock for the artists
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CFPR Editions functions as a publishing studio of limited edition prints and multiples. The studio primarily publishes digital prints using technologies such as inkjet, UV, 3D printing and laser cutting. The focus on new print technologies in the field of fine art printmaking places CFPR Editions within a unique area of the print publishing art market.
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