Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Battle of Britain lace parachute installation

I’m busy assembling the parachutes to accompany my Battle of Britain lace panel exhibitions. All the parachute shapes have been made by visitors and volunteers at Bentley Priory Museum in Stanmore London, the headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. They have made 1497 in all, one for each allied airman killed or mortally wounded during the battle. The idea is that we will commemorate them all by suspending the parachute shapes in an installation. I’m busily attaching them to fishing wire by the centre of the circle so they hang down forming a line of spiral shapes. I’m adding 50 to each line but also attaching some parachutes in pairs with a thread joining them so they can be hung over the line and lie below the level of those on the line. These paired shapes can also move more freely so can turn in the breeze giving a better impression of a parachute descending. I’m hoping that the two types of hanging system will allow the parachutes to be seen and also allow some movement. They also have to be transported to two different venues to be exhibited and then repacked so the system also has to be fairly simple to hang and pack. Apart from the practicalities, my overwhelming feeling has been the realisation that each one represents a lost life – it’s a sobering thought as there are so many of them. 

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