Historic tapestry to be on display

A GROUP of local ladies are contributing to an historic tapestry that will be on display at the Scottish Parliament building from September this year.

Members of the Angus Embroidery and Tesxtile Artists, who meet at Guthrie Hall, have been stitching a panel depicting ‘The Picts defeating the Angles at Dunnichen in 685AD’.

Group secretary Patricia Rae, with help from Pat Beaton and Iolanta Robertson, has co-ordinated this historical panel which will be on display along with another 160 panels.

The group so far have undertaken 240 hours of stitching with more to go. Patricia said: “It has been an enjoyable experience for us all as we were given the wool in colours we cannot change and then we had to decide roughly, using the designer’s drawing, where to use them and which stitches to use.

“Some of our ladies are former members of Arbroath Embroiderers Guild so they are very experienced but others have been on a huge learning curve.

“We have 40 ladies in our group and at least half of them wanted to stitch a part of this historical piece. We have to use embroidery hoops to ensure tension while stitching and it can be quite difficult to manipulate with two or more stitching at the same time so we do allow ladies to take it home with strict instructions not to let the family dog or cat sleep on it or spill a cup of tea.”

The tapestry is the brainchild of one of Scotland’s best known authors, Alexander McCall Smith, who together with historian Alistair Moffat and the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, form a team with Scottish Stitchers who will produce the world’s longest tapestry through one of the largest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

They have already put together ‘The Battle of PrestonPans’ tapestry which has been exhibited throughout Britain for the last two years and is soon to be on its way to be shown beside the ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ in Normandy.

The whole project is using a range of embroidery skills and over 30 miles of wool yarn to translate Andrew Crummy’s vision into a textural depiction of the history of Scotland.

To date there are 600 stitchers committed to taking part in every corner of Scotland, some in groups and others individually. Patricia added: “We are really excited to think we are stitching a piece of history and one day when we are no longer on the planet, our stitches hopefully will still be exhibited in some museum somewhere and, of course, we are hoping that the whole tapestry may be shown at some point in the next few years at the new V&A museum in Dundee.”