A Stitch-Coordinator has been appointed to the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands tapestry project to oversee an army of volunteer stitchers.
Kirstie Campbell works as a freelance designer and educator for the V&A Museum in Dundee, delivering creative workshops to audiences of all ages across a range of creative disciplines with a design focus.
The tapestry is being created as part of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project which will be delivered in partnership with VisitScotland and aims to generate benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region by engaging people with our rich natural and cultural heritage.
The tapestry team recently issued a call for volunteer stitchers and were overwhelmed with the response – with over 400 people looking to take part.
The tapestry will be designed by artist Andrew Crummy – designer of The Prestonpans Tapestry, The Great Tapestry of Scotland, The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry and many others. Historian Alistair Moffat will curate the content, drawing inspiration from stories submitted by local communities and using his vast knowledge of Scottish history and culture.
Kirstie Campbell, who will be part of the team managing the project, said: “I was delighted to be offered the position of stitch coordinator on the tapestry team – it’s such an honour for me to learn from the team who conceived and delivered the epic Great Tapestry of Scotland.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with suppliers who create the most beautiful quality materials throughout the region – from linen and tweed through to some of the yarns we hope to use. It’s really a feast for the senses for someone who loves textiles, as the raw materials available to work with are unrivalled in their qualities.
“A huge part of my role as Stitch Coordinator is going to be working with the volunteer stitchers – from beginner stitchers through to experienced ones – this is where the project will really come alive as everyone gets involved in sharing their stories through stitch – I can’t wait.”
Each panel will be allocated to a voluntary stitching group. These groups may vary in size from just a couple of people to a dozen or more.
Panels will be stitched in homes and cultural hubs across the Highlands and Islands. Stitching is expected to start shortly, and all sewing complete by early 2023, at which point a team will prepare them for exhibition. The panels will then be exhibited within the newly transformed Inverness Castle and in exhibitions in local communities.
Kirstie continued: “I grew up in the northwest of England to a very long line of dressmakers, tailors and weavers – so textiles is really in the blood. With my dad’s side of the family coming from Glasgow, I spent a lot of my childhood in Scotland, and this is where my love of exploring Scotland’s beautiful landscapes began.”
Kirstie trained at the Manchester School of Art, gaining a first-class honours degree in embroidery. Whilst on a gap year, she got her first job as an embroidery designer for bridalwear in Melbourne before coming back to the UK to live in London.
She continued: “I worked for The Embroiderers Guild at Hampton Court Palace, which was an amazing opportunity to experience their extensive textile collections firsthand. I moved to Glasgow to take up a post as a textile designer and worked on textiles and wallpapers for domestic and commercial interior projects until becoming a creative freelancer and training as an early years educator when my children were small.”
The tapestry project is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The Inverness Castle project will benefit from £30m investment to support its re-development 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.