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Spectacular Fringe Launch for Diaspora Tapestry @ St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh

St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral once again hosts a Pans' Tapestry until August 31st

In 2012, the original Prestonpans Tapestry attracted 30,000+ visitors during it's display at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral. This year it has been the turn of the latest embroidered Pans creation, The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry/ Greis-bhrat Diaspora na h'Alba

Stitchers have already created some 200 500mm x 500mm panels from 25 countries across the Scottish diaspora. Another 100 are expected by the time the contributions finally close at March 31st 2015. As such, it's clearly an enormous artwork, and as ever it's beautifully stitched and an explosion of colour and varied styles. Each tells a distinctive tale of what Scots have achieved from cattle drives to gold mining, Sainthhood to military leadership, tea plantations to tobacco. And so very much more.

To make the exhibition digestible it is being presented in 7 geographical clusters: The Baltic, Western Europe, Southern Asia, Canada, The Americas, South Africa and Australasia and finally the British Isles. And there are a dozen 'global' panels, universal Scottish themes. Each has its own explanatory leaflet and the Official Guide captures the large scale images for all those panels received by May 31st 2014.

Consuls came to see and provide the canapes, musicians to play and sing ... including Auld Lang Syne from the entire assemblage of more than 400 guests led by Ana Filogonio and surprise and acclaimed guests the Tshwane Gospel Choir from Pretoria. The Consuls were from Ireland, China, India, Italy, Malawi, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, the USA and Iceland - much to the delight of the stitchers and the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, who was also a guest. She spoke with pleasure at what had been achieved and how willingly she has supported its creation recalling several visits in The Pans as the artwork had progressed since 2012. Under her aegis the Scottish Government made significant direct financial contributions to the successful outcome as have Creative Scotland, Bord na Gaidhlig, The Barons Courts and Homecoming 2014.

All in all a great Edinburgh Launch. Visitor numbers already suggest the exhibition will reach the levels from the Prestonpans Tapestry in 2012.

click on all images to enlarge

Where next

If readers here can't get to St Mary's on Palmerston Place before the end of August, it reappears at Anchor Mill in Paisley from September 6th until 22nd and reopens again in Inverness and Wick for the Royal MOD from September 27th/ October 25th.

After that it's in Helmsdale for 2 weeks before travelling across the Borders to England visiting Doncaster and Corby - both contributors of fine panels to the artwork.

2015 sees the start of the Tapestry's expected Baltic and Western European Tour taking in St Petersburg, Gothenburg, Bergen, Veere, Barga and Paris before heading to Australia at the end of 2015. The touring strategy is simply that if a community stitched for Scotland if it's feasible the Tapestry will make its way there for exhibition.

Published Date: August 15th 2014

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