Over half of the panels being stitched for the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands have been successfully hand-delivered to stitching groups across the area, and work by communities to create the artwork is now well underway.
Designer Andrew Crummy and stitch coordinator Kirstie Campbell have delivered the panels to stitchers and groups in locations throughout the Highlands and Islands including Oban, Isle of Mull, Kilmallie, Nairn and Kingussie. The remaining panels will be delivered by early 2023.
The tapestry project, spanning communities across the Highlands and Islands, involves over 650 volunteer community stitchers ranging in age from 2 to 97.
The finished tapestry will comprise 52 panels, each featuring an image made up of a central figure – such as a person, an animal, scenery, or an icon – surrounded by journey stones. In some cases the image will feature decorated stones in a circle and in others they will appear as a handful of placed embellished stones around the central figure. Each of the 650 community volunteers is stitching their chosen story into the tapestry outline.
The tapestry is a unique way to tell the stories of the area and is being created by communities in association with designer Andrew Crummy. Completed tapestry panels will be exhibited within the newly transformed Inverness Castle when it opens in 2025, as well as within community venues across the Highlands and Islands.
The tapestry is being created as part of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project, a partnership project between The Highland Council and High Life Highland, which is being delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland.
Cllr Russell Jones said:
“The passion the stitchers have about the Highlands and Islands really comes through in this unique community arts project. The tapestry showcases the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful region intertwined with thought-provoking and emotional stories from the threads of over 650 stitchers.”
Mark Tate, chair of High Life Highland, said:
“The passion of each and every one of the stitchers involved in this inspiring community arts-based project is great to see. I’m really excited that the completed tapestry will, in turn, inspire visitors to explore communities across the Highlands. High Life Highland is delighted to be facilitating the tapestry through our management of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project.”
Kirstie Campbell, stitch coordinator, said:
“It has been wonderful to meet the stitchers from each of the 52 groups and seeing new friendships blossom. I have personally enjoyed listening to the stories from the stitchers surrounding their journey stones, and what the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands means to them.”
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project will encourage visitors to explore and experience all parts of the Highlands and Islands, as well as inspiring them to attend and support festivals and events, visitor attractions and outdoor locations across the area.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is part of the Inverness Castle project. The Castle, opening in 2025, will benefit from £30m investment to support its redevelopment from the Scottish and UK Governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a range of other partners.
The Inverness Castle project is part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal, which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.