A new look at the Great Tapestry of Scotland

Great Tapestry designer at work

The Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark – as never seen before!

New Lanark – an 18th century cotton-spinning Mill Village and one of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – is delighted to host the return of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. The brand new exhibition, titled Making of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, opened on 18th May and runs to 1st July 2018.

After first exhibiting the tapestry in 2014, to a record 13,000 visitors, New Lanark are delighted to be welcoming the tapestry back as never seen before. The new ‘making of’ exhibition, curated internally by New Lanark’s Exhibitions Officer Evelyn Whitelaw, will allow visitors to discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project.

For the first time ever, panels from ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland’ will be exhibited alongside fascinating insights and stories from Dorie Wilkie, Lead Stitcher and her team of 1000+ stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland – giving a unique insight into the work of the stitchers. Visitors will discover the technical process & materials used in creating this 143 metre-long masterpiece and how each of the panels were designed, researched and created. They will also hear about the stitchers’ personal stories & connections to the tapestry, plus the heart-breaking story of the theft of the Rosslyn Chapel Panel.

The exhibition will also include original sketchbooks, loose drawings, storyboards and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

A comprehensive collection of photography will give visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the tapestry’s creation – with photos from Andrew’s studio, volunteers preparing the panels, historical research by the stitches, the stitching process and the Architect’s designs for the tapestry’s permanent home in Galashiels, due to open in 2020.

Alongside the exhibition, New Lanark will be running a programme of linked activities and workshops to allow visitors to engage with the tapestry, get creative and learn new skills. These include Craft & Storytelling Workshops, an Exhibition Sensory Trail, Embroidery Demonstration and ‘Dementia Friendly’ Workshops.

In celebration of the Year of Young People, New Lanark will be offering free entry to ‘Making the Great Tapestry of Scotland’ to children under 10 – allowing the young historians of tomorrow to see this magnificent artwork. A discount of £1.50 off tickets will also be offered to YoungScot card holders upon presentation of a YoungScot card at the Exhibition Gallery Reception Desk.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of one of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, and with the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy – not to mention more than 1000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland – formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool – enough to lay the entire length of Scotland – illustrating 420 million years of Scottish history in 160 panels, this beautiful tapestry depicts the entire history of Scotland.

Textile production and innovation has been the continuous thread throughout New Lanark’s history, from the village’s early years as the one-time largest cotton manufacturer in Scotland, to now producing over 60 shades of high-quality woollen yarn using historic textile machinery and launching the world’s first Organic Tartan in 2015. Through this exciting partnership with the Tapestry makers, New Lanark offers the perfect backdrop for this wonderful exhibition.