Cordis Groupwork

The Physic Garden Group Tapestry

Led by Jo McDonald, design by Natalie Taylor

As an exciting new development the Cordis Trust have this year decided to fund a new initiative to celebrate the place of Edinburgh in the contemporary development of the art of tapestry weaving. The Cordis Groupwork Tapestry will be the largest collaborative woven tapestry piece made in Edinburgh in living memory. On completion it will be displayed on loan in the Education Centre of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where it will celebrate the re- creation of the Physic Garden there, to be opened later this year.

The work is based on a design specially commissioned from artist Natalie Taylor who carried out extensive research into the history of Physic gardens and the representation of medicinal plants. Among other sources, she drew on the Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis, published 1683, which is the original catalogue of botanical specimens in the Edinburgh Physic Garden. This garden went on to become the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, where the Groupwork will be created.

The design is based on research about traditional 17th C plant based medicines in Edinburgh, specificllally at the Holyrood Palace Physic Garden. The three plants are ‘Selfheal, Onion, and Purple Foxglove, all widely used at the time. The chemical formulae refer to active compounds found within these plants, and are overlaid as a unifying device by the artist. The design was created in collaborative conversation with Jo MacDonald, and assisted by generous advice from staff at RBGE. The original woodcuts are reproduced from the Theatrum Botanicum, by John Parkinson, 1640.

The design will be divided into 64 sections, each measuring 6 inches by 4.5 inches to be completed by an
individual weaver, under the expert supervision of weaver Jo McDonald.

Where to Weave

Weaving is an important heritage craft, and one that anyone can participate in. Check out our ‘Where to Weave’ section to find tuition, workshops, or exhibitions near you. 

A Considered Place – Drum Castle

21 April - 17 November 2019 Drum Castle presents their latest exhibition - A Considered Place curated by Professor Dorothy Williams in partnership with The Scottish Gallery and Copperfield, London. This exhibition features five leading contemporary British artists who...

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The Thread Runs Both Ways – Tapestry Symposium

The Cordis Trust presents a symposium bringing together an international panel of speakers to discuss and debate contemporary tapestry. PRICE: £65 / £45 concession BOOKINGS: Book Online Venue: Lecture Theatre @ Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Dates: Saturday 16 March...

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Tapestry Weaving at the Botanics

Be inspired by the wonderful Tapestries in The Cordis Prize Exhibition at Inverleith House in Spring, and learn to weave your own Tapestry! Everything is supplied, just bring yourself! You will learn how to warp up, and weave, to make shapes and patterns, to blend...

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Plant Dyeing: Colours of Scotland

Plant dyes produce an amazing diversity of rich and complex colours as well as unexpected results. This practical workshop gives you the opportunity to experiment with plants and build up a selection of samples of both yarns and fibres. You will learn about the plants...

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Tapestry and Mosaic: Creating Jewels!

Join mosaicist, Joanna Kessel and tapestry artist, Laura Magliveras in Italy for a week of creative explorations in Tapestry and Mosaic – creating jewels! In the peace of the garden at Al Vecchio Convento, students will create lovely miniature mosaics and then...

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Jane’s Art

Jane's one day weaving workshops are held  in her Attic Studio, in Gorebridge, about 15 miles south of Edinburgh. Start at 10am, with coffee and chat, stopping for lunch, and a glass of wine, at 1pm, and finish between 5 and 6pm with tea and cake. You will learn to...

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