FIRST impressions of the new purpose-built Great Tapestry of Scotland gallery, visitor centre, cafe and workshop space have proved hugely positive amongst early visitors.
The brainchild of Alexander McCall Smith and designed by artist Andrew Crummy, the Great Tapestry of Scotland is one of the world’s largest community arts projects. Hand-stitched by a team of 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland led by Dorie Wilkie, over 300 miles of wool was used in creating the 160 linen panels.
The building opened to the public on Thursday and first through the doors was Janice Lees from Clovenfords who told the Border Telegraph: “It is absolutely amazing. The coIours are fabulous, the stitching is fabulous and I loved the stories and the history. I love the modern design of the building and I hope it will be really busy. I am a quilt maker and the standard is tremendous. It’s not just embroidery, it’s art. I hope it’s a great success and I intend to come back lots of times”
Jill Gunter from Galashiels added: “It was a lovely experience. Just beautiful and very welcoming. I learned so much about local culture and I’ll certainly be spreading the word.”
Deirdre Wood from Ettrick Bridge said: “Wonderful, amazing, in fact there are no words to describe it. It really is out of this world. I will certainly be back.”
Robin and Doreen Donald from Maybole in Ayrshire said: “It was fantastic. The colours are so vibrant which brings everything to life.”
Simon Pinder from Bowden said: “Absolutely fantastic. The building is brilliant and the whole experience was overwhelming.”
Carole Oliver from Bowden who stitched part of the Welcome Panel along with neighbour Kathleen Hughes said: “Not being Scottish I feel very honoured and lucky to be allowed to take part in the tapestry which will hopefully be here for many years to come.”
Liz Butchart from Darnick who inserted some stitches when the tapestry was at the Wool Fest in Eyemouth said: “It’s a great way to tell the story of Scotland. Being pictorial, everyone can understand it. Bringing communities together to create it is fantastic.”
Norman and Suzanne McBain from Barnard Castle were taken as a surprise by daughter in law Susan Marshall, son James and grandchildren James and Lily. Norman said: “That was fantastic, absolutely incredible. Strange as it may seem, coming from England I was unaware of the tapestry’s existence but it will be a great attraction for Galashiels. It was truly magnificent. I can’t begin to imagine how it was done.”