The Giant’s Garden (2014-2015)

Through the Giant’s Garden project, with Catherine West as named Artistic Lead, Significant Seams worked alongside 1,000 Waltham Forest residents to create an intriguing spectacle of 850+ community-crafted poppies evocative and representative of the unintended consequences of WWI whilst also honouring the youngest Victoria Cross winner, Jack Cornwell VC.

From the sewing up of soldiers’ wounds to the comforting and soothing effect knitting had on those coping with absence and loss, stitch crafts were a culturally integral part of World War I.

The Giant’s Garden project drew out the positive threads of social change and innovation that came from the horror and upheaval of World War I. It knit together historic moments and practices with modern symbolism.

Working across Chingford, Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Leyton, this diverse project brought people together in a conversation about the lasting ways in which WWI changed our world, and created a range of WWI commemorative activity in the borough. 

We delivered four sessions with other organization’s mental health support groups – in addition to over thirty of our own.  We worked with four schools in 7 workshops.  We created teaching resource packs full of historical content for further lessons teachers could utilize after our initial workshops.

Overall, we invited participation in the project at 89 events, workshops and groups, including the curation of a World Mental Health Day event at Vestry House Museum. Two installations were delivered in conjunction with local and national events celebrating the life and contributions of Jack Cornwell VC. Over 160,000 local area residents of Waltham Forest experienced the project in some way. Volunteers contributed over 656 hours.