The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is coming to Ayr Town Hall

People from all over the west of Scotland and beyond will soon be able to see The Great Tapestry of Scotland when it comes to Ayr Town Hall. One of the UK’s largest ever community arts projects, and the longest embroidered tapestry in the world, it is a spectacle not to be missed at the free exhibition from Easter Saturday on 4 April to 31 May 2015.

[Pictured left to right: Councillor Allan Dorans, Councillor Bill Grant and Stuart Cresswell, Director Ayr Renaissance are getting ready for the arrival of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.]

The brainchild of acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith, the tapestry traces the history of Scotland from the formation of our landscape millions of years ago, across every peak of Scotland’s history, into the 21st century. Naturally three of Ayrshire’s greatest heroes, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns, have their own dedicated panels of the tapestry.

James Knox, Chairman of Ayr Renaissance, who was responsible for bringing the tapestry to Ayr said: “This is a great moment in the regeneration of the heart of the town. It is a real coup to get the tapestry to the town hall, where it will attract hordes of visitors keen to see one of the most amazing artworks ever created in Scotland by Scots of Scots for Scots.” 

Councillor Bill Grant, Economic Development Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder for the Council said: “The Council and Ayr Renaissance are working closely to make this an outstanding event and to ensure as many people as possible see it.  

“If you are handy with a needle and thread, interested in Scottish history, or simply want to visit a unique free exhibition, then make sure you visit The Great Tapestry of Scotland while it’s in Ayr Town Hall.

“With 160 historical panels each depicting a moment from Scotland’s past up to the 21st century, and created by skilled needlework enthusiasts, it will be a stunning sight. I know that I will be visiting more than once.”

The Great Tapestry of Scotland, reflects 420 million years of Scottish history. It took 1,000 stitchers, 50,000 sewing hours, 300 miles of yarn and took 160 panels to complete it. 

Best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, together with historian Alistair Moffat, artist Andrew Crummy, and stitch coordinator Dorie Wilkie, created the design for the tapestry. Stitchers then translated the artwork into a colourful, skilful and textural depiction of the history of Scotland. 

There were some unforeseen challenges such as how to embroider a severed hand and deciding what colour an Indian elephant’s eye is. 

Alexander McCall Smith said: “The creation of this wonderful tapestry has been an experience of sheer joy. Not only has the team of artist and stitchers created a stunning record of Scotland’s history, but the project has brought together hundreds of people in all parts of Scotland in joint artistic endeavour.”

Councillor Grant concluded: “I am delighted that we will be hosting The Great Tapestry of Scotland at Ayr Town Hall. It took skill, imagination, determination, vision and millions of stitches to create and I congratulate everyone involved in the project.”

There will be a number of community and art activities organised to coincide with the exhibition, with details currently being finalised. 

So far over 210,000 people, with over 10,000 viewing it in the first two weeks have visited the exhibition at Stirling castle and when it comes to Ayr visitor numbers are expected to continue to be high.

To keep up to date with the progress of the Great Tapestry of Scotland visit or follow them through Facebook and Twitter.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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