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St Hilda’s Church, the parish church of The Headland, Hartlepool plays host to numerous Christmas Trees, each decorated by a community group, including young people from Throston Youth Club. Designs include screen printed envelopes containing first hand accounts from soldiers who took part in the Christmas Truce. Provided by the Martin Luther King Peace Committee, the text references the peace campaigns leading up to outbreak of war. The envelopes reference the letters wrote home to family and friends by the soldiers. A soldier from Gateshead, writing a letter on Christmas Day to a friend in Low Fell wrote:
“Last night the Germans lit up their trenches and started calling across merry Christmas. We responded in the same way and then we started singing songs to one another, carols etc. All shooting had stopped. We walked about the tops of the trenches and called out to one another. Then some of our chaps walked out and met some of the Germans half way, wishing each other a merry Christmas, shook hands and said they would not fight today.”
The hand made decorations designed by young people from Throston Youth Centre respond to these first hand accounts with printed Christmas gifts, symbolising the exchange of cigarettes and choclate between the so called enemy soldiers.
Siobhan Tarr presents a thought provoking response with her mosaic like homage to the 3.700,000 women who entered the Workforce during WW1 including those who worked at the National Shell Filling Factory Number 9 on the outskirts of Banbury.
Siobhan Tarr, Germany
”Risking their health and their lives, working in munitions factories, women were often called canary girls. because of their yellow skin – the result of repeated exposure to TNT. Some even gave birth to yellow canary babies.”
Siobhan Tarr will work with a group of young people in Lauenburg in Germany, as part of a interdisciplinary history / art project, initiated in 2012 by the Heimatbund und Geschichtsverein Herzogtum Lauenburg (Lauenburg native and historical society) and its co-operation partner Lauenburg Art Association. This year the young people will be investigating Volkstrauertag and the questions it raises. This is the annual German national day of mourning, commemorating those from all countries, military and civilian, who have died either in or as a result of armed conflicts. They will look at the theme of WW1 local stories, interviewing old people and looking into local archives and records etc. Using the information they collect and with reference to their own place in this legacy, the youths in Lauenburg will work from a German perspective in an attempt to relay this to the young people of Hartlepool and beyond using Mail art. For young people worldwide, it is an excellent opportunity to actively share differing perspectives and interpretations in regard to the legacy of war. Siobhan Tarr
Otto Sherman, is a prolific maker of Stamp Art, medals and cancellation art, with sometimes contradictory sinister and playful motifs reoccurring in his work. He has forwarded on pages of Stamp art that I will pass onto the young peopl in Hartlepool to use – when the time comes! And include in my own Mail Art prodcutions.
First Mail art out from Throston by John
Throston Youth Centre in Hartlepool played host to a mini-taster session in making Mail Art Monday evening 27th January.
This year marks 100 years since the Bombardment of Hartlepool , Whitby and Scarborough. The Heugh Gun Battery based at the Headland, remains a physical reminder of WW1. Many of the young people taking part in yesterday’s taster session had visited the Battery during school visits. Although memories were a bit rusty, a few young people remembered the recreated trench at the Battery as well as the dug outs.
Ryan’s Mail Art out heading off to Spain very soon
This international and national Mail Art project provides the opportunity for discussion and reflection on the first WW1 with young people. It is an opportunity to revisit part of their local history, explore the social history and re-present the findings to an international audience using Mail Art techniques.
The techniques used in last nights sessions were quick, simple and engaging. We used old wooden type to print out text, cut up pictures, maps, articles and ephemera, associated with WW1 and Hartlepool. The aim of the project is to encourage the young people to make their own enquiry into their heritage, with support from Heritage partners such as the Heugh Gun Battery and Beamish, the Youth Service staff & volunteers in Hartlepool and Theresa Easton.
Some of the young participants completed Mail Art, ready to be posted out to one of the many national and international participants in this project. John’s Mail Art will be flying through the air very soon heading for the warmer climate of South Africa. Ryan’s decorative Mail Art has less of a journey, heading to Spain.
Each envelope contains a piece of Mail Art referencing aspects of WW1 and will include a short note written by Theresa Easton providing the participant with information about the project and Hartlepool. Thanks to all those who took part and printed a whole array of Hartlepool based Mail Art ready to be posted off!