Golden Threads

Golden Threads


Weaving a Legacy

A group of amateur tapestry weavers in Edinburgh have together created this tapestry

 Background The tapestry uses golden threads collected by Hedwig Philip which had not seen the light of day for 70 years. Hedwig was a German Jew. She and her husband narrowly avoided the Holocaust. They left Berlin in 1941 and travelled to join family in Pennsylvania.

A skilled needlewoman, she collected golden threads and embroidered a Torah Mantle for the local synagogue. In 1951 she travelled with all her belongings to Britain to join her daughter in Newcastle. Hedwig died not long afterwards. Her box of golden threads remained unopened, passed down to her daughter and then to her granddaughter, Cathie Wright.

Golden Threads

Weaving the tapestry This group tapestry pays homage to Hedwig’s story, but the quantity and beauty of the threads, the heritage and the journey travelled, called for something more. The result is a modern, secular tapestry incorporating these historic golden threads. There are 16 panels, each one designed by the weaver, drawing on the themes of Jewish heritage, refugee travel and survival, conflict avoidance, building bridges and seeking a better world with hope for a brighter future.

As Cathie has said, ‘This is a community enterprise that takes the threads from one spiritual tradition to universal themes that celebrate life and survival’.

The tapestries are woven with contemporary materials (wools and cottons) supplementing the old golden threads. They are joined with an overlay of golden braid which also came from Hedwig’s box. The overall size of the composite tapestry is 30 inches square.

For more information please contact Project Leader Jackie Grant

Photo © Geoff Gardner Photography


Supplementary information

A photo of Hedwig and the contents of her box not opened for 70 years


The Weavers and the Names of their Tapestries 

Anita Nolan


Sandra Carter

 Into the Light

Joan Mclellan


Sarah Clark


Lindi McWilliam

 Breaking through Barriers

Judith Barton

 From the Ruins

Elspeth Hosie

 Journey’s End

Francesca McGrath

 From  the Darkness

Hilary Watkinson

Glimmer of Hope

Barbara Clarke

 Ode to Joy and Peace

Jackie Grant

 Tree of Life

Kirsteen Shaw

 Return to the Light

Irene McCombe

Trunk of New Beginnings

Serena Naismith

Linking Communities

Joan Houston

New Life Sycamore

Ann Smuga

Dove of Peace

Stitching and assembly of the composite tapestry by Sylvia Davidson

 Grateful thanks to Cathie Wright for giving us the threads and encouraging the project, and to professional tapestry artists Joanne Soroka and Jo McDonald for their invaluable advice and support.

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