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The Horbury Tapestry
Celebrating the Centenary of the Horbury Library, Wakefield 2005
Designer/Co-Ordinator Janet Taylor-Wintle B.A. (Hons)
The Horbury             Tapestry - Full The Horbury             Tapestry - Detail The Horbury             Tapestry - Detail


The Horbury Librarians visited the Leeds Tapestry in 2002 - a 10-year project consisting of 16 large panels, all stitched, depicting life in Leeds. They thought a Tapestry to celebrate the Centenary of Horbury Library would be a brilliant idea and they asked Janet Taylor-Wintle to create the Tapestry because of her textile experience.
The democratic criterion was that the Tapestry should be "About Horbury, by the people of Horbury, for the people of Horbury".
She considered Horbury on the map - the canal , river and railway travel closely together in a deep valley at Horbury Bridge, and all swing round towards Wakefield via Horbury Junction. Up the hill you come to Horbury Town with the little library and, of course, John Carr's Georgian parish church - the only Grade I listed building. The M1 motorway creates a border between Horbury and Wakefield. Roads run through Horbury, Wakefield to Huddersfield, and to nearby Ossett. Thus a convenient rectangle could be formed.
In September 2002 Janet started taking photographs of buildings in the town, churches, schools, shops, public houses etc. and made enquiries about activities and societies.
"Knowledge is Power" is written on the gates at the entrance to the Library. It is an old English proverb derived from Proverbs Ch24.v5.
In September 2002 flyers were exhibited around the town inviting interested people to a meeting at the Library and 25 turned up. Here the idea was explained, a few examples of work shown and a trip to the Leeds Tapestry organised.


Over 200 photographs and images were scanned into a computer and then printed and heat transferred on to fabric.
People chose the subject or figure they wished to embroider - one stitched her prize-winning garden, another her band-player granddaughter and her church, a descendent of Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould embroidered the re-enactment of Cute style are given to customers. Onward Christian Soldiers, and yet another lady transformed her artist son's black and white sketch into a delightful coloured picture. One keen sewer did all the road signs.
Embroiderers were asked to sew in a sort of "painting with stitches" using what technique they thought best. There are examples of hand and machine embroidery, canvas-work, petit point, silk painting, collage, appliqué and stumpwork. every piece shows a spontaneity only achieved by people doing their own thing, in their own way. At the beginning several ladies said, "Oh, I only do cross stitch" or "I've never done anything like this before" and the result has been some of the most sensitive detailed work.
Every piece has been stitched with great care and expertise and is a "gem" and can stand alone, and deserves close examination. Some 70 ladies have sewn, some just one beautiful piece, others several, and two ladies have done over 40 in varying sizes. Everyone has given freely many hours of his or her time and talent. Thank you to them all. A lot of people have made great personal achievements, found a new talent, and many good friendships have been forged on this project.
A very special thanks to Geoff Spiller who has done all the computing work - scanning in photographs, making adjustments, printing transfers, cataloguing just everything. All work is shown on disc and on the Horbury Archive, and it is possible to see who stitched which pieces, details of the subject, names of people featured - first names only in the case of children.
To construct this 8ft x 4ft Tapestry of Horbury life, a team of 20 dedicated stitchers spent many weeks helping plan the background of nets, the layout and positioning of all the pieces and then worked very hard to sew them all carefully and securely in place. Great fun was had as couples worked together, one under the Tapestry and one leaning over above! Finally all the ends had to be tied off. A stitched list of all who helped create the Tapestry is concealed within the frame.
Most grateful thanks goes to the "Community Chest" for their very generous donations. These have paid for all the materials and the professional framing using a deep hardwood frame with special UVA Perspex "glass", and also for a set of cards to be printed. Further support has been received from Friends of Horbury Library, Horbury & District Historical Society, Horbury Common Lands Trust, Horbury Community Council and Horbury Civic Society. 
To celebrate the event a set of four 21cm x 15cm glossy cards have been produced. One image shows the full Tapestry, while the other three show a close up image of a third or the Tapestry each. The cards are blank inside giving plenty of space to write your own message and come complete with envelopes.
Packs are available from Horbury  store big sale elegant watches Library or can be ordered via Janet Taylor-Wintle on 01924 261452. 

The Tapestry is exhibited in Horbury Library where it was unveiled on 8th January 2005 by the Mayor of Wakefield, Cllr. Janet Holmes.
You can contact the Library at: Westfield Road, Horbury, Wakefield WF4 6HP. Telephone 01924 303060

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