by Sandra Züllig and Louisa Clair Anderson
More than 500 volunteer stitchers from practically every area of Scotland are involved in what will be the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
This huge community arts projects, which began in Autumn 2011, aims to create a series of over one hundred and forty panels that tell the key stories in Scottish history – everything from Duns Scotus to Dolly the sheep. The tapestry is set to be finished by August this year and will be displayed in the Scottish Parliament in September, before going on tour in Scotland and abroad.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland is the brainchild of one of Scotland’s best-known writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy, not to mention stitchers from all over Scotland, form a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestry. Writer Alexander McCall Smith says that “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.”
The numbers behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland
49, 50,000 sewing hours (equivalent to sewing 24 hours a day for 6 years!)
30 miles of woolen yarn (enough to lay up and down Ben Nevis 37 times!)
12,000 years of Scottish history
Over 500 stitchers
Over 140 panels
1 beautiful tapestry depicting the entire history of Scotland!