New tapestry celebrates the history of Berwick

Tweed 1000 tapestry.
Tweed 1000 tapestry.

A tapestry, which will illustrate the history of Berwick and its people over 1000 years, has been commissioned by the Tweed 1000 group.

The construction of the tapestry will be a community project involving everyone including the elderly in care homes, schoolchildren and other organisations under the guidance of skilled artists.

Visits will be made and workshops held so that the community will help in construction. Participants will be taught new, heritage textile and art skills and will learn a brief history of these heritage crafts and traditional and modern techniques.

The portable nature of the tapestry means that it can be rolled up and relocated to different venues in the area, making it accessible for everyone to view it at some point. Ultimately the tapestry will housed in Berwick Museum and Art Gallery as a contemporary artefact: an addition to the cultural heritage of the town.

The Tweed 1000 designer, Tania Willis, an illustrator of international renown, has been working with Anne Wadey and her construction team over the last few weeks in consultation with local historian Jim Herbert.

The completed tapestry will be one large fabric hanging comprising of 24 separate pieces, each created as an individual mini-project on the Tweed 1000 theme. The overall size of the finished hanging will be 2m x 3.3m.

Tweed 1000 chairman Dave Blackburn said: “I have had a sneak preview but we won’t be able to reveal too much until it is unveiled at the end of the year. However, we hope to offer a flavour of its content in the not-too-distant future.”

Some pieces of the tapestry will be circulated to individual project organisers and/or designers. Each individual project will also be allocated basic materials: (child-safe) needles, embroidery floss, etc.

“So far, the response from the community has been unbelievably positive and we are excited at the prospect of involving as many people as possible in the creation of this legacy to the town”, commented Dave Blackburn.

The project will be co-ordinated by the 56° North, Creative Studio team, who will also be responsible for mounting and finishing the work.

Workshops will be held at The Maltings, Berwick on June 6, June 27 and Friday, July 6 - so go along, add your stitch to the Tweed 1000 Tapestry and help create a future heirloom.

Tweed 1000 is a voluntary group set up to celebrate 1,000 years of Berwick’s history, which was shaped by the outcome of the Battle of Carham, when the Anglo-Saxon army of Northumbria was beaten by the emerging kingdom of Scotland.

Following this battle, the River Tweed, for the first time, became the border between Scotland and England.

This set the scene for Berwick to become the most important town in medieval Scotland; a wealthy border trading town at the mouth of the mighty River Tweed.

As well as the tapestry, Tweed 1000 have organised a Living History Weekend on July 21-22 when demonstrations of archery and hand-to-hand combat skills (including some public participation), and displays of cooking, medical practice and other aspects of medieval life will be on show around Berwick’s unique fortifications. There will also be an exhibition in the town hall, Defending Berwick and the Border, which will illustrate aspects of the turbulent history of Berwick and the Borders. For more information visit www.tweed1000.com.