Between the Lines

Between the Lines

About the "Between the Lines" blog

Our latest exhibition "Between the Lines" reflects our response to the commemoration of the 1914-18 conflict.

This blog will focus on stories behind the work by the E.A.S.T artists as well as looking at other artistic and cultural commemorations around the UK that relate to WWI.

Artistic differences

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Tue, October 07, 2014 20:35:58
For the final round up of the EAST artists' work for Between the Lines we look at two very different sides of WW1.

It is is difficult for many of us to imagine what went through the minds of ordinary people signing up to fight for their own country, but what would it have felt like to fight for a country the other side of the world. Melinda Berkovitz spent her early life the other side of the world so it was particularly appropriate for her to consider the reasons behind why indigenous Australians came to fight for a country they would never have previously seen. Without support from other countries, and this also included China, India and the West Indies, the outcome of the war could have been very different - but were those fighting adequately rewarded for the sacrifices they made?

This brings us back to where we started - with poetry, and also writers and artists. Susan Canfield has explored how artists of all three disciplines responded to the the effects of war but also how the government used art as a tool for propaganda. Susan has explored the work of TS Eliot, Vera Brittain, Paul Nash and Dylan Thomas amongst others.

Between the Lines opens tomorrow at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London and will continue until Sunday. It will also be on display at the Harrogate Show in November before moving to other venues around the country.

In London we are in the West Hall Corridor - just past where you hand your ticket in.

Hopefully we will see you there.

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Women at war

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Mon, October 06, 2014 18:56:10

Women, stitching and flowers could be considered the themes of two more EAST artists for Between the Lines -

Embroidered postcards – an economic opportunity and a hark back to Victorian sentimentality. Delia Pusey’s work looks at what was a cottage industry in Belgium during WW1, but is also inspired by the poem Adlestrop by Edward Thomas (1878-1917). Thomas only took up poetry in 1914 and sadly died not long after he had arrived in France, at the battle of Arras in 1917. The title of the poem is the name of a small village in Gloucestershire, and the poem recalls an uneventful train journey that stops at the station of the village, providing a moment of calm listening to the sounds of nature.

Adelstrop has another history – perhaps the complete opposite to a link with WW1. It was the home village of the Leigh’s, relatives of author Jane Austen. Events and characters from some of Austen’s novels may have been inspired by letters and visits to the village -

My work (Janette Bright) also looks at women and the First World War, and how stitching, gardening and theatre all played their part. Focusing mainly on three women – Lady Smith-Dorrien and her Hospital Bag Scheme, Lena Ashwell and how she brought Shakespeare to the Front and Mrs Grieve whose knowledge of herbal medicine was vital when pharmaceutical supplies were limited, I have considered how a simple object like a bag can tell a big story.

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The realities of war

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Sun, October 05, 2014 17:46:36

Between the Lines has not been afraid to look at many of the horrors of war, but often with a twist -

EAST member, Anne Norton, has created a work that explores both the horrors of war but war time correspondence in the form of letters from the Front.

It is incredible to think that in 1917 19,000 pieces of post crossed the Channel each day, keeping loved ones in touch.

The British Postal Museum and Archive have lots of information about the postal service during WW1 -

Barbed wire is not something that many people look at for its aesthetic qualities, but June Carroll has used barbed wire for the inspiration behind her sculptural work for Between the Lines.

Interestingly there was a song written during the conflict called The Old Barbed Wire, and it is typical of the “black humour” often used to cope with unbearable situations –

If you want to see the old battalion,

I know where they are.

I know where they are.

If you want to find the old battalion,

They're hanging on the old barbed wire.

I've seen 'em, I've seen 'em,

Hanging on the old barbed wire,

I've seen 'em,

Hanging on the old barbed wire.

(The above information about The Old Barbed Wire comes from the Western Front Association -

Tricia North’s imaginative piece combines a narrative of improvised weaponry alongside the very British idea of afternoon tea, which itself becomes a “minefield of memories”.

You may never think of a “nice cup of tea” in the same way again!

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War and the natural world

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Sat, October 04, 2014 20:16:06

The theme of today is nature and landscape with the work of three EAST artists for Between the Lines -

Landscapes torn or blown apart are symbolised by pulled work in the pieces by Margaret Talbot. Margaret’s work also remembers the miners, whose job it was to tunnel under the landscapes, creating the largest non-nuclear explosion in history. The scars of the landscape, its pollution and its physical changes devastated crops and lives – it may look different one hundred years on, but the effects of war on the land can still be found.

Libby Smith was inspired by poets Edward Thomas, Edmund Blunden and Martin Newall who wrote on the theme of landscape and war. Libby also considers the importance of memory - with just a hint of red she references the poppies that have become a national symbol of remembrance.

Ellen Devall’s research uncovered many instances of how nature became a comfort to many of the men fighting in the trenches. The devastation of the natural world meant any tiny plant or small creature became comfort to many. The song of the skylark is mentioned in several letters as a symbol of hope. is a link to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day which featured the skylark on 18 February 2014.

But nature also had its darker side in war and this is not forgotten either.

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Two personal stories

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Fri, October 03, 2014 17:30:24

Two EAST members are using their own family histories for the basis of their work.

Julie Topsfield’s begins with the story of her grandfather, Leonard Delf. Born in 1881, he spent the first seventeen years of his life in Norfolk before joining the army and beginning an adventure that took him to places as far afield as Africa, India and Afghanistan, before returning to Europe and the battlefields of France.

Lorna Rand has family from both sides of the conflict so her quilt not only tells the story of a war from both sides of the conflict, but also how tells how people who might have once been considered to be on opposing sides one hundred years ago are now brought together through love and marriage.

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A Poplar and the Moon

Artist storiesPosted by Janette Thu, October 02, 2014 18:57:03

Today is National Poetry Day so it seems appropriate to post a poem that has inspired the work of EAST member, Liz Hammond - Siegfried Sassoon's A Poplar and the Moon.

There stood a Poplar, tall and straight;

The fair, round Moon, uprisen late,

Made the long shadow on the grass

A ghostly bridge ‘twixt heaven and me.

But May, with slumberous nights, must pass,

And blustering winds will strip the tree.

And I’ve no magic to express

The moment of that loveliness;

So from these words you’ll never guess

The stars and lilies I could see.

EAST's new exhibition Between the Lines opens at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace, London on Wednesday 8 October 2014. Liz's work will be just one of the pieces on display. Our stand is very close to the entrance to the main exhibition (in the North Hall).

Below is just a snippet of Liz's work.

For more information -

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