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.
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