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Staffordshire manufacturer Johnson Tiles helps poppies bloom at Tower of London

Interesting to hear in the news today that Staffordshire tile manufacturer Johnson Tiles has been contributing to the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London.

Created by Derby-based artist Paul Cummins, it’s a project that will see thousands of ceramic poppies displayed at the site to commemorate every fallen hero from the First World War.

Cummins enlisted the help of skilled workers at Johnson Tiles to assist with making 888,246 poppies to ensure that each one is finished and in place before Remembrance Day on 11 November.

The Tower of London moat installation, which was officially unveiled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the summer, has since been filling up as the flowers are made, with volunteers planting each one. The final poppy will be ‘planted’ on Armistice Day to mark the end of the conflict.

Apparently, around 8,000 poppies a day are made by the team at Johnson Tiles in a labour intensive process involving very traditional, skilled method of making, beginning with clay processing to produce slabs.

Flower templates are then cut from the slab, with the two layers formed into the poppy shape. Each poppy is dried for a minimum of six hours in a cabinet dryer, which reduces the moisture content enough to fire them in the kiln. The poppies are ‘biscuit fired’ and then hand-dipped and re-fired to high temperature before being dispatched to Paul Cummins’ studio in Derby.

Wonderful to see a local manufacturer contributing to such a humbling tribute to our fallen heroes. Discover more on the Johnson Tiles website.

Image courtesy of Johnson Tiles

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