Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Scotland in Stitches!

One of the world’s favourite writers, Alexander McCall Smith, has brought together the talents of artist Andrew Crummy, history writer and festival director Alistair Moffat and stitchers from around Scotland to create Scotland’s largest ever tapestry and to tell the story of all Scotland.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is to be launched at the Borders Book Festival in Harmony House Gardens on Saturday 18 June at 12.15pm. At this event, Alistair Moffat and Alexander McCall Smith will reveal the content of the 100+ panels, which together will depict our history. The choice of topics and events to cover has been made by the trustees under the guidance of Alistair Moffat but by its very nature the list is bound to prove controversial – what to include, what to leave out? The trustees are inviting debate on the list and are open to adapting it to include other suggestions.

At the launch, artist Andrew Crummy will display some of the early sketches for the panels and announce the search for volunteer stitchers from every corner of the country.

Alexander McCall Smith spoke in more detail about the project …

‘The recording of events, both great and small, on cloth is nothing new. The most famous example, of course, is the Bayeux Tapestry, which is one of the world’s best-known works of art. More recently, the completion of the Prestonpans Tapestry in Scotland has reminded us of just how effective this method of narrating history can be. When I saw that tapestry for the first time, I was struck not only by its beauty but by the story behind its creation. That led me to raise with Andrew Crummy, the artist, the possibility of creating a tapestry that would illustrate the whole history of Scotland. To my delight, Andrew agreed to take on the task. Alistair Moffat, one of Scotland’s finest historical writers, was then approached to join the project and come up with a list of historical moments that the tapestry would cover. As we had all expected, Alistair’s list is both balanced and exciting – a series of snapshots of Scotland from its earliest days to the recent past.

This is a collaborative project. The work will be done by volunteer stitchers working throughout Scotland. Although the overall artistic vision will be Andrew’s, and the telling of the story will be Alistair’s, the creating of the tapestry will be the task of many hundreds of people who will invest in it their feeling for the story that they will be illustrating. When the work is finished, we shall hand the tapestry over to the nation, to be displayed to the people of Scotland and visitors to Scotland.’

The project will take 2 years to complete and the finished tapestry will go on display from August 2013. A book detailing the project will be published by Birlinn Ltd.

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