Threads across the County (Rural Reams) is a textile skills learning and community development project that will capture, share, and celebrate local histories and heritage in the form of six Tapestry panels, telling the stories of communities in Greater Renfrewshire and stitched by local people.
The project’s aims are to:
- Celebrate traditional stitching and textile skills, and share these across the community
- Collate, record and celebrate local history and the stories that matter to local people
- Benefit individuals, groups and communities, by building connections, sharing events and celebrations.
The project reaches out across the rural communities of Eaglesham, Neilston, Uplawmoor, Bishopton, Kilbarchan, rural Linwood, Lochwinnoch, Kilmacolm and Quarriers Village to tell their stories in Tapestry panels, stitched art work and a film of the project. It will be delivered over 12 months from March 2019-February 2020.
Why this project matters
The project will address the interrelated challenges of isolation and loneliness and lack of opportunity by delivering an accessible and inclusive programme of social activity, volunteering and learning opportunities to build stronger, more self-reliant and inclusive rural communities:inspiring and connecting people, providing learning and cherishing both heritage and traditional skills.
What we will help people to do
- 780 people of all ages and abilities to learn about the traditional skills of sewing, the creation and capture of local histories.
- Support 40 volunteers of all ages and abilities to learn the skills required to for project delivery, including supporting learning, stitching, thread sorting and storytelling..
- 6 unemployed young people to gain practical experience of film recording and learn about events management.
- 100 school children to take part in project delivery, as stitchers and story tellers.
- 30 people from 5 targeted groups (including adults with additional support needs; seniors; community groups) to take part in the project, as stitchers and story tellers.
How you can help
Our funding package currently stands at £42,577 made up from monies from Leader, Awards for All, and a contribution from the RTG (from sales and donations). Before we are able to take this exciting, life affirming and transformative project forward, we need to raise an additional £2000 pounds to secure our total project costs of £44,510.
How the money will be spent
Your contribution will allow the purchase of materials crucial to making, storing and stitching tapestry panels and other stitched art works and includes supplies of quality Scottish linen; bulk supplies of sewing needles, including needles for children; pencils and papers for drawing designs; threads for stiching; threading needles; hoops; storage for tapestry panels and works in progress.
“Sewing is a way to mark our existence on cloth: patterning our place in the world, voicing our identity, sharing something of ourselves with others and leaving the indelible evidence of our presence in stiches held fast by our touch”
Clare Hunter (“Threads Of Life: A History Of The World Through The Eye Of A Needle”, Sceptre, 2019)
“Your project is a wonderful example of how a creative process can reach out to communities, involving people stitching together to tell stories. A participatory process which can help to combat loneliness, help with the development of positive mental health, skills development, stimulating memory, reminiscence and contributing to local history.”
Jackie Sands, Health Improvement Senior: Arts and Health, Public Health and Health Improvement, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde talking about the Tapestry of Renfrewshire
A panel image from the initial Renfrewshire tapestry project showing Walter Stewart, Marjorie Bruce and King Robert II.
Renfrewshire Tapestry Group (RTG) is a community development initiative committed to reviving traditional stitching skills, combating isolation, teaching, connecting, and empowering local groups and individuals throughout the Old County or Renfrew. Our aim is to create, assemble, display, celebrate and tour a magnificent tapestry art work stitched by with and for local people in the Old County.
The Renfrewshire Tapestry Group (RTG) has been in existence since 2016, and is a fully constituted body, a not for profit unincorporated association managed by a volunteer committee and employing appropriate experts and consultants where appropriate.
The group has an office base in Paisley Abbey and an operational base in the Paisley Thread Mill Museum and although these locations are in Paisley, the work of will take part in key rural areas within Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. The project will be delivered in partnership with key community organisations and groups active in the local area.
The RTG committee comprises representatives from across Greater Renfrewshire including the Paisley Thread Mill Museum, Paisley Abbey, Sma’ Shot Cottages, the Whithorn Way, Creative Renfrewshire Network, Neilston Development Trust.
How the project started
The Renfrewshire Tapestry Project originated with the Renfrewshire Creative Networks Heritage & Tourism Sub-group when Paisley hosted the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry and stitched panels for both the Great Tapestry of Scotland and the Diaspora Tapestry and also hosted major exhibitions of these.
The idea to create a bespoke tapestry for Renfrewshire was inspired by the huge public response to these tapestries, and 5 years on, it has now developed into a major, highly ambitious project being managed by a voluntary association set up specifically to take it forward: the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group.
You can find out more about the this stage of the project, and the beautiful works that are being created, by visiting the Renfrewshire Tapestry website and watch our video on the project impact so far
Q What will happen if you don’t reach your target?
We are confident we will! However, if not, we will discuss our options with funders, who have been very supportive.
Q When do you expect the panels for this project to be completed?
Tapestry panels can take time! We expect 2 will be completed by February 2020, and the remaining 4 by 2022.
Q Where will this project be exhibited?
We expect the panels and art work to tour amongst the rural communities. We have also been invited to exhibit the art work in health centres and hospitals across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS region.
Q Is this project connected to other community-led Tapestry projects in Scotland?
Yes. Communities involved in these projects have been talking to each other and key stakeholders in the planning of tourism and economic development, about the creation of a “Tapestry Trail” as a visitor attraction and guide. The Tapestry Trail and other tapestry projects are also considering how they can best link in to the “Great Tapestry of Scotland,” and its new home currently under construction in Galashiels.