Sky Of Blue, And Sea Of Red
“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” is an enormous step up for Cummins, who previously created ceramic flowers to be used as garden ornaments. Though this Great War tribute is of an exceptionally large scale, Cummins and his assistants have pledged to make the poppies using only techniques available to potters around the time of the First World War. While the process is slow and labor intensive, it ensures each poppy is as individual and unique as the soldiers they are meant to commemorate.
The title of the installation may seem slightly archaic in its raw, non-PC boldness and indeed, the phrase is as old as the Great War itself. Paul Cummins came across the line while reading through an archive of soldiers’ wills from his hometown of Derby.
“Soldiers had to make wills because in those days if they didn’t their property would not be passed on to their loved ones,” states Cummins. “I came across one (will) written by a man who said everyone he knew had been killed. He wrote of ‘blood swept lands and seas of red, where angels dare to tread’. It read like a poem and it just seemed to fit.”