Hello and welcome.
Thanks for taking the time to find out more about Turned Red Earth. It's a limited edition artist's book that creates poetry out of fragments from the letters and diaries of WW1 soldiers, accompanied by luminous, uncanny photographs of uprooted weeds and wildflowers.
We're offering some covetable rewards to our backers: first edition copies of the book itself, stunning prints and lovely postcards. You can even get some of our home-grown seeds to create your own poppy meadow. Every penny you pledge will help us raise the £5K we need to get Turned Red Earth into print.
*UPDATE* 17 October: we've set a stretch goal of £7,000 with a promise to:
- Donate 10% of any further pledges to veterans' mental health charity, Combat Stress
- Upgrade the postcard set to a super-generous A5 size, and give one card away with every £15 pledge
- Pay any remaining proceeds to the creative team
Read on to find out more - and if you still have questions, we'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch by clicking on Lucy's profile at top left of this page and then hitting the "Contact me" button.
Why we're raising funds
Turned Red Earth will launch in late October 2018, in the run-up to the centenary of Armistice Day. The work will unfold as a book, various prints and postcards, and a series of massive billboards on the waterfront in Ipswich, UK. The 'public' elements of the project - the billboards and a limited run of free postcards - have already been funded, with the generous support of the SPILL Festival.
We're now seeking individual backers who would like to own a part of this artwork in the form of a limited edition book, as well as individual prints of some of the gorgeous illustrations it contains.
We think the project deserves your support for three reasons:
First, because it's a poignant and beautiful way to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and mourn the millions who died.
- Secondly, because it serves as a warning and a reminder of precious things we still need to fight for: things like the common bonds we share with the other nations of Europe, the survival of our native flowers and birds, and a culture that allows vulnerability to co-exist with masculinity.
- And last but not least, because it will be a gorgeous (and giftable!) object in its own right: litho-printed on lovely paper with red Singer-sewn binding, illustrated with uncannily beautiful photographs of wildflowers.
We need to raise at least £5000 by 18th October to cover the cost of designing, printing and publishing the book. We hope to raise more, so that we can also pay the creative team for some of the time they've put in.
Once the project's costs have been met, we'll donate a share of proceeds to Combat Stress, the veterans' mental health charity.
About the work
May 5th, 1915. 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Douglas Gillespie woke in the early hours to the sound of snipers' rifles and machine guns. He emerged from his dug-out, which cut through an orchard in the Flanders countryside.
"Presently a misty moon came up, and a nightingale began to sing," he wrote in his diary. "There was something infinitely sweet and sad about it, as if the countryside were singing gently to itself, in the midst of all our noise and confusion and muddy work; so that you felt the nightingale's song was the only real thing which would remain when all the rest was long past and forgotten."
By the end of that summer, Gillespie was dead. He led his men into action on the first day of the battle of Loos. His remains were never identified.
Turned Red Earth is a sequence of poems woven together from the words of men like Gillespie, who found comfort in fleeting, transcendent moments of connection with nature in the midst of the horrors of the First World War. In 32 brief pages, it distills the experiences of 18 soldiers who fought in the trenches: among them American, German and French voices as well as members of the British armed forces.
This work asks us to enter into their world by picking up a series of familiar talismans: a poppy, a snatch of birdsong, a handful of lilac petals. It points to the painful truth that these teenagers and young men were fighting each other to the death, while all of them were homesick for the same flowers, and for similar meadows and hills and hedgerows. And it exposes the fragility of the fantasy they clung to, that nature would endure forever, pure and perfect, long after the war was over and despite the depradations of humankind.
The project is devised by Lucy Greeves, with images photographed by Eleanor Skan. Book design is by William Joseph.
Risks and challenges
Turned Red Earth is supported by a team of experienced professionals. We've costed each element of the project carefully and planned for a range of outcomes. As long as we hit our fundraising target, the book will be published, and backers should receive their rewards in November.
There is always a small risk that a supplier - printer or courier, for example - might make an error that delays completion of the rewards. We'll keep you posted in the unlikely event of a delay in publication.
The size of the donation we are able to make to Combat Stress will depend on the extent to which we exceed our target.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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