June 1, 2016
Mystery of stolen panel
One of the most impressive community arts projects ever undertaken in Scotland, originated by East Lothian artist Andrew Crummy, is the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Consisting of 160 separate panels, each depicting aspects of Scottish history, and each one stitched in small groups from across the country. The Tapestry is on tour until its purpose-built final resting place in the Scottish Borders is ready to receive it next year. Unbelievably, last year one of the panels was stolen. Although it’s just possible a clue to the motive behind the theft might lie in the scene depicted.
A panel of the Great Tapestry of Scotland which was stolen last year from a Kirkcaldy art gallery is being replaced by the seamstresses who created the original work.
The section, which tells the story of the ancient Rosslyn Chapel, was taken from Kirkcaldy Galleries in September, where it was on display as part of a tour of Scotland.
Now, a team of workers from the Roslin area have begun work on a replacement for the panel, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, in time for the tapestry to be hung at its new home in the Tweedbank Centre early next year.
Jan Rutherford, manager of the tour and exhibition of the tapestry, said there would be some minor differences to the original panel, which was designed by artist Andrew Crummy. She said: “They are restitching to the original design, but with slightly different stitching and a few additional elements created by Andrew to distinguish it from the original. It is impossible to replace something like that, so whatever we did was going to be slightly different.”
Seamstress Fiona McIntosh, who is working on the new panel, said the seven-strong team were devastated when the original work was stolen. “We were absolutely gutted,” she said. “We have been given an opportunity to improve on the original version.”
The Great Tapestry of Scotland features 160 separate panels, each of which took about 500 hours to create with more than 300 miles of woollen yarn.
Alistair Moffat, co-chairman and historian for the tapestry project, said: “The wonderful thing about the women of Roslin doing this again is that it absolutely defeats the philistines who stole the panel.
“It is marvellous that they have got the courage and persistence to say ‘You’re not going to beat us’.”