Tapestry to weave story of Scotland

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LOCAL volunteers are being called upon to spare their needles, thread, time and ideas for The Great Tapestry of Scotland, an epic project to tell the story of this country, its communities and its people.

The initiative was launched in Melrose at the Borders Book Festival on Saturday by author Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy.

The tapestry is a 107-panel piece that will be stitched together by the people of Scotland. Each panel, a metre squared, will depict one of 107 defining historic events.

As its aim is to tell the story of Scotland as written by the people of Scotland, there is a call for volunteers, from Shetland to the Borders, to share their thoughts on what should be included: from events to inventions.

The project will take two years to complete and the finished tapestry will go on display from August 2013.

“The recording of events, both great and small, on cloth is nothing new and the most famous example, of course, is the Bayeux Tapestry,” said Mr McCall Smith.

“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 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.

“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.

Interested members of the public and potential stitchers can make suggestions and comment on the list of historical subjects by visiting www.alistairmoffat.co.uk