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Call for stitchers! Major community art project seeks stitchers from across the Highlands and Islands

The team behind the Inverness Castle Project are working with the creative figures responsible for The Great Tapestry of Scotland on a new project, creating an embroidered tapestry that captures the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands.

The team need your help and are seeking volunteer stitchers from around the Highlands and Islands to create bespoke community panels.

Inverness Castle Project Officer Sophie Gartshore said: “We need people’s help to create a network of stitchers who are resident in the Highlands and Islands. Together these stitchers will  work with the Tapestry Team, pick up a needle and yarn, and add to the wonderful themes which are being developed.

“Prior sewing/textile experience is beneficial, but not essential. Where necessary we will endeavour to connect inexperienced stitchers with others who have experience and can help to advise and guide the process. We would encourage as many people as possible to become involved.”

Project Co-ordinator for the Tapestry Team Anna Marshall said: “We are seeking stitchers from communities across the Highlands and Islands to get involved to help us to embellish the images created by our team using crewel wool and a variety of stitching techniques to enliven and adorn the basic fabric.

“There are also opportunities for those who don’t have a desire to stitch – the project will need logistical and practical support with equipment and outreach activities so the team are also keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in volunteering their skills in joinery, textile production, or performance and workshop delivery.”

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 utilising his vast knowledge of Scottish history and culture.

Alistair will develop an outline ­– which reflects community stories exploring the connection between people and landscape in the Highlands and Islands – and will then work with Andrew Crummy to design an array of stunning images which embody the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands.

Reflecting the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands theme, the project will encourage people to visit all parts of the Highlands and Islands in a sustainable way.

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.

Volunteers are invited to apply as individuals or as part of an existing group who want to stitch together. Those applying as individuals will be introduced to other stitchers from their local area to form new groups.

Panels will be stitched in homes and cultural hubs across the Highlands and Islands. Stitching is expected to start in early summer 2022, and all sewing must be complete by early 2023, at which point a team will prepare them for exhibition. Some panels will be designed for exhibition in the Castle, others will be designed for exhibition in local areas.

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.

It 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.’

Applications to volunteer can be made online at: www.spiritofthehighlands.com/spirit-journey-tapestry-registration/

Alternatively, request a registration pack by emailing [email protected]

Or by writing to: Anna Marshall, Spirit of the Highlands Tapestry, 5 West Stanhope Place, Edinburgh, EH12 5HQ