The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

by Misa Hay -

Scots have migrated all over the world and have often had a profound impact on the areas where they settled. The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry project will see 25 such communities documenting their Scottish connections on a series of embroidered panels. 

One of the Norwegian contributions come from Kirsti MacDonald Jareg and Lillabeth Sørhuus who both lives in Oslo. Kirsti is of Norwegian and Scottish parentage. The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry contacted Jareg because of her book “Travels in the Scottish Isles. The Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland”. The contributes with a written story about the Shetland Bus, a nickname of a clandestine special operations group that made a permanent link between Shetland, Scotland, and German-occupied Norway from 1941 and throughout the war. Many boats and lives were lost in those operations.

To embroider the actual panel, Kirsti contacted Lillabeth, a friend who also is of Scottish descent, from the Clan Gunn. Lillabeth spent hours on stitching the Shetland Bus story together, taking the panel with her wherever she went and getting many curious questions along the way. The names of some of the boats and men who undertook the dangerous sailings, figure on the tapestry, the most famous being Shetland-Larsen and Jan Baalsrud. 

The tapestry will tour Scotland in 2014, stopping over in Edinburgh for the festival. Find out more here.