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Vilene Interfacing gives Mk. 3 Look to Tapestry

Mk 3 Presentation is making a most significant difference...

Lead Stitcher Dorie Wilkie and the Panel Beaters have been 'responsible' since the 104 discrete panels first came together in June 2010 for making sure everything hangs together - and elegantly! It's been a time consuming job but as was to be expected the Panel Beaters have built up a set of competences which have been indispensible to smooth running operations.

Behind the scenes as the Tapestry has toured to 12,000 visitors thus far at eleven discrete venues there has been continuous 'adjustment'. Mk 1 we all saw on July 26th in The Pans and the official Guidebook photographs Gillian Curtis-Hart took tell that story. During autumn 2010, as the panels developed some mild 'drooping', Mk 2 saw a flexible hemline created for the backing allowing for any necessary future adjustments without having to unpick the panels themselves.

However, Mk 3 is a truly bold initiative that sees Vilene Interfacing being inserted at top and bottom of every panel and at both ends of each cohort of 5 metres. This evolved format is designed to carry the touring Tapestry right the way through to its permanent home. The Trust asked the experienced team led by Dorie Wilkie to undertake this work in the slack time between The Dovecot/ Scottish Parliament exhibitions in December 2010 and the next showing at the Scottish National Story Telling Centre on the Royal Mile - Saturday February 12th/ Saturday 19th 2011.

The difference is most profound as the emerging illustrations from Andrew Crummy's Studio where the Tapestry is kept show only too clearly.



The work began in freezing conditions on January 10th 2011, stopping at 2.15 pm because of the cold! Since then the team [Meg Porteous, Mary Richardson, Sara McCabe, Kate Edmonds, Shona McManus and Dorie Wilkie] has worked 4/ 5 hours each day with a planned completion date of February 5th. So, the beautifully re-presented panels will first be seen in public at The Story Telling Centre in Edinburgh from February 12th/ 19th. Come along and see the difference - and bring friends, children and grandchildren! Details are available BY CLICKING HERE

Dorie Wilkie's Report to The Trustees on Completion of Mk3 - January 31st 2011

"All the panels have now been de-constructed and re-assembled. During this process strips of Vilene interfacing have been inserted in the seams top, bottom and both ends of the cohort to strengthen the panels. The hems were hand sewn and all gently steam pressed.

"Using 3 runs of 5 display boards erected in Andrew Crummy's Studio, 4 cohorts of panels were hung in a tiered fashion with a strip of fabric at each end between the top Velcro and lower embroidered surface of the run below. This must be done every time the panels are returned and rehung to prevent the Velcro tearing at the wool embroidery. There is a notice on the Studio wall explaining this to those re-hanging the tapestry.

"Whoever removes the tapestry for exhibition purposes should ensure cohorts are returned and removed from the green transportation bags and re-hung in the method described above. This is the best way to store the tapestry between tours to keep panels looking their best and hopefully crease free.

"In future during a spell between exhibitions when the tapestry is hung in the Studio it might be beneficial to gently press it – contact the Keeper of the Tapestry [currently Dorie Wilkie] to arrange for this and to do any repairs reported as necessary during an exhibition.

"I now hand over the refurbished Tapestry to the Battle Trust, with previously researched information from Reading's Bayeux Exhibition, as to how best look after it, and the optimum conditions for the display centre.

"All the bags used for transport have been checked and had cohort numbers re-painted for clarity, and each has the relevant padded roll and interfacing used when rolling the tapestry."


Report on Visit by the Keeper of the Tapestry, Dorie Wilkie, to Brendan Carr @ Reading Museum - October 2010

"In order to minimise future damage to the panels when they are on permanent display they need:

1. to be housed in hermetically sealed cases – not glass but conservation Perspex - with an appropriate barrier between the wood battens and panels when mounting them with Velcro. If wood is MDF it needs to be Medite ZF which is formaldehyde free. Seasoned woods such as mahogany beech or birch are preferred. The wood should be sealed with shellac sanding sealer and a barrier e.g. melinex a polyester film. Wood felt should not be used to line the cases, as this attracts pests, neither use adhesives.

2. to be displayed in low light 50 lux (consider annual opening hours), not directly opposite windows without sunblinds and with even temperature 16C -20C – a thermometer should be in display case.

3. not to be hung close to heating source.

4. to prevent insect infestation it is preferable to have a space between the cases and an outside wall. To detect infestation sticky pads are left inside the cases to trap insects.

5. at least annually, to be hoovered gently with net over the nozzle to remove any dust, loose dirt and eggs. In the period until a permanent area is available they need to be stored in stable temperature - neither too hot nor too cold.

6. storage - not rolled but flat, so on boards OK as the weight of them on top of each other may crease them. The fabric needs to ‘breath’ so synthetic covers not the answer for prolonged storage.

7. not in direct light (I was going to suggest we hung them on the boards with clean sheets over them) and lavender or moth balls hanging from the boards.

8. transportation- Reading Museum use a plastic tube, with conservation paper (stronger than tissue) between and bubble wrap around the whole. Use a layer of acid free paper between them and the panels to be rolled. Reading then use cotton down proof or Tyvec dust covers around them tied firmly but not tight in tube shapes. Line an acid free box with polyester wadding cover with acid free
tissue/paper and wedge rolled panels so they cannot move."



Published Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Prestonpans Tapestry created by Prestoungrange Arts Festival and the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust in support of the campaign for a Living History Centre in Prestonpans.
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