Gallery finds its forever home in Scottish Border, writes Erica Crompton
Beginning with large, fabric squares depicting the glacial formation of mountains and glens more than 420m years ago, up to Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory of 2013. It’s said to be one of the longest tapestries in the world at 143 metres – that’s 70 metres longer than the Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland started touring its homeland on its completion just after Murray’s win and is now housed in a super-accessible purpose built gallery in Galashiels. It’s a real treat to feast your eyes on, having been created by 1,000 volunteer stitchers from across the country working with more than 300 miles of wool over two years. The tapestry initially toured Scotland, but this year found its forever home here in Galashiels, the heartland of the Scottish Borders.
Created by Alexander McCall Smith, the static tapestry exhibit is one of the world’s largest community arts projects. Speaking of his work on the tapestry, Alexander McCall Smith said: “The opening of this wonderful gallery marks the end of a long period of hard work by all of those who have created this astonishing tapestry and its permanent home. But it also marks the beginning of the public life of one of the great artistic creations of our time.”
Through its articulate artistry and visual storytelling, it makes Scotland’s history, heritage and culture accessible to all, including Paul and his wheelchair – the doorways are wide and there’s a beautifully modern lift to shuttle from the immaculate ground floor cafe and diminutive shop to the gallery itself.
Naomi Harrod, owner of Unwind Yarns, a yarn store that stocks a wide range of craft supplies and yarn as well as offering workshops and helpful advice said: “Having the tapestry here is something every business owner I’ve spoken to is looking forward to! It looks amazing, and really will breathe more life into the town. I regularly have customers in who are visiting Galashiels for the first time on a day out that walk around, looking for something more to do. I can’t wait to tell them they can visit The Great Tapestry of Scotland, right here on our high street.”
To book your visit or find out more click here.