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McCall Smith delight as Great Tapestry of Scotland returns to New Lanark

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of McCall Smith

One of the world’s best-loved writers, Alexander McCall Smith, is thrilled that the Great Tapestry of Scotland is returning to New Lanark this week in a unique exhibition allowing visitors to view the artwork like never before.

First hosted at the World Heritage Site back in 2014 to over 13,000 visitors, the new exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the making of the tapestry and illustrations which depict 420 million years of Scottish history in 160 embroidered panels.

Visitors can discover the story of the tapestry’s creation through original sketches, photography, memorabilia and memories from those closest to the project.

The exhibition runs from Friday 18 May until Sunday 1 July and is open from 10am until 5pm.

For the first time ever, panels from The Great Tapestry of Scotland will be exhibited alongside fascinating insights from Dorie Wilkie, lead stitcher, and her team of over 1,000 stitchers who worked on the project across Scotland.

The exhibition will also include original sketches and personal works by Andrew Crummy, the man behind the tapestry’s beautiful illustrative designs depicting key moments in Scotland’s history.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was the brainchild of McCall Smith. The 44 Scotland Street author, together with historian Alistair Moffat, the artistic talents of Andrew Crummy and over 1,000 stitchers from all areas of Scotland, formed a team set to produce the world’s longest tapestries through one of the biggest community arts projects ever to take place in Scotland.

McCall Smith is glad that the Great Tapestry of Scotland is returning to New Lanark in this new exhibition and believes that the World Heritage Site is a great venue to showcase his work.

He said: “The return of the Great Tapestry of Scotland to New Lanark is a particularly welcome development. Since it was last here the tapestry has been seen by many thousands of people as it has continued its wonderful journey across Scotland.

“It is particularly appropriate that it should come back again to this setting with all its rich historical associations. The tapestry embodies many of the ideals that gave New Lanark its important role in Scottish history - education, art, and concern for others are values which underpin both the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Robert Owen’s New Lanark.”

Taking 65,000 hours of stitching and using over 300 miles of wool - enough to lay the entire length of Scotland – the tapestry illustrates 420 million years of Scottish history.

Alongside the exhibition, New Lanark will be running a programme of activities and workshops to allow visitors to engage with the tapestry, get creative and learn new skills. These include craft and storytelling workshops, an exhibition sensory trail, embroidery demonstration and dementia friendly tours.

Jane Masters, heritage manager at New Lanark, said: “New Lanark staff and volunteers have attended Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friends Scotland information sessions in order to deliver the dementia friendly tours, allowing people living with dementia, their families and support networks to enjoy the Great Tapestry.

“New Lanark Trust will be supporting the charity’s work to raise awareness of dementia in Scotland by giving a discretionary donation from the proceeds of the tours to Alzheimer Scotland.”

Tickets cost £5 for adults and £4 for concessions. Children aged between 10-15 cost £3 and children under 10 are free. Family tickets cost £13 and essential carers are free when accompanying an adult, child or concession ticket.