A SPECTACULAR project to create the first ‘Tapestry of Renfrewshire’ is issuing a call to yarns.

The team behind the textile – which will tell the story of the old county of Renfrew through 10 panels – are looking for interested historians and stitchers to come along to a series of workshops this month.

Renfrewshire Tapestry Group are hoping people will share their own ‘yarns’ about their local areas to build a picture of how history helped to shape the region.

Local history expert Stephen Clancy, who is also vice-chairman of Paisley Thread Mill Museum, explains: “The project kicked off in February when Renfrewshire Tapestry Group secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Stories, Stones and Bones programme and Paisley2021.

“It’s hoped that when complete, the Tapestry will be a major colourful, community contribution towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture.”

Historical archaeologist Stephen adds: “While Paisley’s weaving history is well known, we want to highlight the unique importance of thread to the city.

“Paisley was built on thread, through the legacy of the Coats and Clarks families, and at one time almost every bobbin of thread in the world was manufactured here.

“Our ambition, therefore, is that the tapestry be stitched entirely with local threads and wools and we have had a great reaction to our ‘call to yarns’ with donations coming in from all over the world.”

As The Urban Historian, Stephen has been delivering short courses and Heritage Walks in Paisley for several years.

He is also advising the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group on historical aspects of the old County of Renfrew.

“Renfrewshire history is a real passion of mine,” he smiles. “It’s great to see work progressing on the tapestry.”

The panels will be designed by artist Andrew Crummy, the designer responsible for The Prestonpans Tapestry, The Great Tapestry of Scotland and the Diaspora Tapestry.

They will be based on the Old County of Renfrew boundary, depicted by Pont’s map of 1560 and will include history stretching from the Iron Age onwards.

Andrew said: “The reason I wanted to get involved with the Renfrewshire Tapestry is because I really loved the history of Paisley, which is a mecca for anyone interested in Scottish textiles.

“Everyone knows the Paisley pattern, of course, but I was fascinated to learn that in Victorian times, 98 per cent of the world’s wool and thread came from the city.

“That is an amazing legacy. The town is full of fascinating history and it’s a real honour to help tell that story.”

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about.

“We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, Renfrewshire Tapestry Group will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

As part of the research, the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group is holding four history workshops over the last two weeks of June covering Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and parts of Glasgow that were once part of the old County of Renfrew.

Historians and stitchers who wish to get involved with the research project to create timelines for their respective areas are invited to come along and discuss stories and historical events that helped shaped where they lived.

The four workshops are free to attend and will take place in Barrhead Foundry on June 19 at 7pm, Jordanhill Parish Church Hall on June 20 at 7pm, Giffnock Library on the June 26 at 5.45pm and in the Lyle Kirk Halls on Union Street in Greenock on June 27 at 7pm.

Full details of the workshops are available on the Renfrewshire Tapestry website www.renfrewshiretapestry.org.uk/events.

Booking for the events is essential with tickets available through eventbrite.co.uk.

Tickets can also be reserved by emailing stitch@renfrewshiretapestry.org.uk