Translation of "tapisser" French to English can mean: to carpet, to decorate
Since 2009 I have drawn and designed many tapestries, from the large scale of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, Battle of Prestonpans and The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry to others like The Mount Felix Tapestry, Gordon Highlanders Tapestry, Kirkcaldy panel, Peoples' Panel, to the current tapestries that are all developing such as The Renfrewshire Tapestry, Cancer Tapestry, Tapestry for Europe, Clackmannanshire Tapestry, Battle of Pinkie, Allermuir Tapestry, Craigmillar Tapestry, Elphinstone institute, Royal Midwives panel, Welcome panel for The GTS building at Gala and The Declaration of Arbroath tapestry.
That is well over 800 drawings. getting them ready for the thousands stitchers to do their magic. It has been a privilege to be able to design and draw these projects.
I am honoured and humbled that so many stitchers have transformed these drawings to another level; all the historians and experts who have contributed information: all those that helped with the planning and fundraising; all those that contributed ideas and drawings (in particular the tags); all who have traced the panels onto the linen; all those who have got the kits ready for the stitchers; all those who have stretched, blocked, backed, hand stitched and prepared each panel ready for exhibiting; all those that have organised exhibitions and tours; all those that put the exhibitions up; all those that have organised a range of events around the tapestries.
The range of events that can surround these tapestries are from talks about stitching, the history and the designing, to civic receptions and part of festivals. From the very first musical interpretation of the Battle of Prestonpans in Eriskay Community Centre to the many events in Ayr Town Hall when The Great Scottish Tapestry exhibited shows how these community artworks will work in the future. These events are often not just about stitching or the artwork but a range of other artworks like music, dance, storytelling, literature, etc.
As these tapestries progress through tours, talks and events and are making a wider impact. The Peoples' Panel, now housed in The Scottish Parliament had over 10,000 adding a stitch. The Royal Midwives panel was stitched by nearly all the midwives in Scotland. The global tour of The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, the national tour of The Mount Felix Tapestry in New Zealand and the new bespoke building in Galashiels for The Great Tapestry of Scotland opening in 2021. And a developing Tapestry trail around Scotland and beyond.
All tell the story that this is more than one artist or individual, they are not only about creativity and stitching, but are telling many a story or history. A community arts project like is this is an invitation to be creative and tell your story. For me the roots lie in my childhood and The Craigmillar Festival Society, a community arts way of working. Put all these projects together and what do we get? Well that is a big question, but for now the tapestries are developing and growing, with no end in sight. As always a pleasure to be part of this and watch it grow.