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The Commonwealth Tapestry Online



The Commonwealth Tapestry

Schools in Scotland from Shetland to the Scottish Borders contributed metre squares of original textural embroidery to a single collaborative tapestry designed to welcome the world to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, showcasing Scotland and its place in the Commonwealth. In the lead-up to Glasgow 2014, during the Games and for some time afterwards the tapestry was on display in St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow where it attracted thousands of visitors. In September it travelled to Aberdeen where it formed an exhibition in Queen’s Cross Church. We were particularly happy to have a display in Aberdeen, and are most grateful to the Church though it was a little disappointing that it was able to host the tapestry for just two weeks, which gave schools - and local people - only a relatively short time to arrange visits.

Working on the tapestry has given children insights into the values of the Commonwealth and has informed them about many individual countries; for example, individual schools linked work on the tapestry with learning about India and Bangladesh. These Scottish canvases were interwoven with canvases created by schools in other countries around the Commonwealth (which you can see in the Virtual Golden Tapestry on this website) and the whole tapestry featured a total of seventy-two square metres.

What makes the Commonwealth Tapestry so exciting is that, unlike many artworks which combine contributions from different sources, it is designed to tell a single, coherent story. It is not simply an anthology of unconnected stories. Each school focused on one of the twelve months of the year, portraying what was special to them about that particular month, and the story it tells is of one year in the life of Scotland and of the Commonwealth through the eyes of children. The tapestry juxtaposes Scottish culture with the culture of different countries around the globe.

Now that the shows of the tapestry have finished we are happy for each individual canvas to return to the school that made it. In fact, all the schools in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Shetland already have their canvases. If you would like yours returned (which will be on its wooden frame), please contact Lizzie Owen on We will have to charge for packing and delivery at cost.

We will continue to maintain the online Commonwealth Tapestry; if your school has not yet contributed a description to go alongside the photograph of your tapestry, please e-mail one to, as it adds so much interest.

We would like to thank St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow and Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen for kindly hosting exhibitions and Aberdeen City Council, BP Exploration and Mackays Ltd, Arbroath for their generous support for the Commonwealth Tapestry.