New "Friends of the Tapestries" group established at The Gothenburg in Prestonpans.
It was an exciting day to be in Prestonpans yesterday, where there was so much happening it was hard to take stock! The day began with a visit by the Scottish Government's Minister for Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, who came to see how ourselves and our friends at the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust have been incorporating Gaelic into our activities. He was shown several panels from the Tapestry not yet seen in public, including panels from Prince Edward Island and India.
Then Eilidh Johnson from Bord na Gaidhlig joined us on a tour of Prestonpans battlefield - where most of the victorious Highlanders of 1745 were Gaelic speakers - before visiting the Cockenzie studio where our own Gillian and Yvonne were at work on the Tapestry. The studio was truly abuzz, with volunteers busily aiding with the blocking and lining of completed panels, and with new panels arriving from around the globe all the time there was a sense of tangible excitement!
On returning to The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, we bumped into two more Diaspora volunteers. This time they were stitchers from Doncaster, arriving in Scotland to deliver the set of four more marvellous panels to add to the England set. And no sooner had they done so than we took delivery of yet another panel, this time depicting the very building in which we were stood (detail above), and commemorating the famous Gothenburg Principles which, imported as part of Scotland's historic bilateral relationship with Sweden, stressed the value of pubs returning profits to their community.
By then the stage was set for the key meeting of the day - the foundation of a new joint Friends initiative for the Battle of Prestonpans and Scottish Diaspora tapestries. Over a splendid spread, volunteers and stitchers who have worked on the two projects came together to express their willingness to assist in the futures of these great artworks, whether by volunteering to help with maintenance, guiding visitors around our exhibitions, or simply spreading the word of what we're all up! Such positivity and enthusiasm was a real pleasure to see.
By the end of the evening there were yet more fresh panels for us to see, taking the total number already back at the studio now to beyond 90 individual panels. We know that many more are on their way to us as we speak and in the coming days and weeks, and you can be sure we'll be receiving each new arrival with the same delight and excitement as we did the first!
We know that not all our volunteers and helpers from over the years were able to come along to the Friends meeting last night, but of course you are all welcome! If you wish to be added to the Friends database and think you can help out at our exhibitions, please get in touch with me: email@example.com
Some of you may have suspected that there was a lack of exciting news to report, or else that our webmaster had gone into hibernation. I am pleased to report that neither is the case! If anything there is so much happening in these exciting final months before our World Premiere that it is hard to keep track, and this humble reporter has been away on paternity leave so please forgive the slow news weeks!