Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Last Invasion Tapestry, Fishguard

On my short break to Pembrokeshire last week I was fortunate enough to visit some inspiring and interesting sights. The Last Invasion Tapestry in Fishguard town hall was one such delight. The exquisitely embroidered tapestry is 30.4m long by 53cm deep and took four years to complete. Designed by artist Elizabeth Cramp (who sadly passed away last November) the three embroidery advisers, Rozanne Hawksley, Eirian Short and Audrey Walker were helped to complete the exceptionally detailed embroidery by 77 local people.

Cramp's research of historical facts and popular legends have provided an imaginative interpretation of a little knows, but significant moment of Welsh an British history comparable in format and depth to the Bayeux Tapestry documenting the 1066 Norman Invasion. Despite many regarding the Norman Invasion as the last invasion, the tapestry’s creators are keen to prove this myth wrong.

Despite being initially given the brief to use only 8 different colours, Cramp’s eye for detail led her to use significantly more in her illustrations which were then translated into 178 shades of crewel wool which allow for subtle colour changes indicating late winter days, night-time or candle light. In addition, the embroidery stitches used are mostly the same as those used by medieval embroiderers.

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