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History made as first thread is stitched into Tapestry of Renfrewshire

A piece of history was made yesterday as the first thread was stitched into the Tapestry of Renfrewshire.

The project, which is supporting Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021, is being led by the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group of local representatives and experts.

It aims to shine a spotlight on the area’s weaving heritage and the unique importance of thread to Paisley.

The first stitch took place in front of an excited crowd at Paisley Abbey following presentations on the history of the textile industry in Paisley by Dan Coughlan, Curator of Textiles at Paisley Museum, and Scottish artist and designer Andrew Crummy.

Andrew - who drew panels for the Prestonpans Tapestry, the Great Tapestry of Scotland and the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry – is also designing the panels for the Renfrewshire Tapestry.

Visitors were shown Andrew’s design for the first panel and were encouraged to start the process of stitching the Tapestry.

The Tapestry of Renfrewshire recently announced that seed funding for the first 10 panels had been secured from Paisley2021's Culture, Heritage and Events Fund and The Heritage Lottery Fund through their Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

It is anticipated the Tapestry will be completed for 2021 and it will be housed in Paisley for tourists and locals to discover more about the area's culture and heritage.

The vision of the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group is to have the project stitched entirely with local threads - building upon the history of the famous Coats and Clarks manufacturing families in Renfrewshire.

Andrew Crummy said: “The reason why I wanted to get involved with the Renfrewshire Tapestry is because I really loved the history of Paisley, which is like a Mecca for Scottish textiles.

“The Paisley pattern is obviously very important, but also the threads that went around the world. In Victorian times, 98 per cent of wool or threads of the world came from Paisley, which is an extraordinary fact. And when you talk about Paisley outside of Paisley, everyone talks about the Paisley Pattern.

“There’s a fantastic history and when you come to the town, the architecture is defined by this history as well.  It’s such an important place that is known around the world and is of huge importance.

“It’s a real honour to be part of something to try and tell that story, not just for Paisley but for Renfrewshire as a whole.”

Hear more on what Andrew had to say about Paisley's heritage and the Tapestry of Renfrewshire in the video above.

For more information about the Tapestry of Renfrewshire and how you can get involved click here.