Corner Brook artist remembers with 15,000 felt forget-me-nots

Artist Jackie Alcock created a Remembrance art exhibit featuring thousands of felt flowers to remember soldiers who died in the First World War and other wars.

Jackie Alcock Remembrance art show is on display at Corner Brook's Rotary Art Centre

Artist Jackie Alcock opened her Remembrance art show this week at the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The small blue flowers of the forget-me-not have a special meaning in Newfoundland and Labrador, where they are a symbol of remembrance for the many soldiers lost at Beaumont Hamel during World War One.

As the hundredth anniversary of the end of that war grew closer, rug hooker Jackie Alcock began to make thousands of the flowers, crafted in felt.

Made over a four-year period, those 15,000 flowers are now on display at the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook as part of the Remembrance exhibit, which opened to the public Thursday.

Alcock says this blanket, her favourite piece in the show, has more than 6,000 flowers. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

At first glance, the tapestries strung on the walls and floor at the centre look like solid rugs or hangings. As you get closer, the tiny blue and pink flowers Alcock made begin to stand out.

A flower for every soldier 

"My idea was to make a forget-me-not for every solider that served in the First World War," said Alcock.

She collected wool clothes from thrift shops across the province, and turned the second-hand pieces into felt squares that she dyed blue.

Alcock made 15,000 felt forget-me-not flowers. The pink bud is for soldiers who died in the First World War. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Making the flowers twelve at a time, she worked her way toward the 15,000 that are on display for the art show. 

Each flower is a person, said Alcock, who learned the stories of the soldiers as she researched the wars they fought in. 

"You got to know a lot of people," she said.

"It was really sad, and I did an awful lot of crying in the last four years."

On public display

After four years of work, the thousands of flowers are now on display, just in time for Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of World War One armistice on November 11.

The exhibit will be open to the public following the city's Remembrance Day ceremony Sunday at 11 a.m.

The Remembrace art show will be on display at the Rotary Arts Centre until Nov. 28. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"This exhibit is a thank you to all the soldiers that served in the First World War, Afghanistan and I've included the Korean War and Peacekeepers, also."

The art show also features a poster series those who served in Afghanistan. 

The wall hangings will be on display for the public's viewing until November 28.

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