Tutorial (398)

Jamie Malden speaks about Block Printing; the ancient art of textile printing, still practised in many part of the world...

There's no tour guide on this one, but have a look and enjoy being on this film set ...

Saturday, 09 September 2017 13:02

Dressing up an 1815 Regency lady

Written by

Dressing a Regency Lady for a walk, plus evening and riding looks ...

Peggy Hagan, from Bangor, and Valerie Wilson of the Ulster Museum, two of the women who are embroidering the Game Of Thrones tapestry, on display at the Belfast museum Picture: Ann McManus

Game of Thrones; Joanne Sweeney finds out how the ancient craft of embroidery has suddenly become cool...

Embroidery is often thought as a lost craft in some people's minds, but the centuries-old way of enhancing textiles has been used to fantastic effect on the Games Of Thrones tapestry and is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Ireland. 

Rather than using delicate flowers, birds or leaves motifs, a group of 30 women have sewn crimson splodges of blood and, using perfect tiny stitches, have accentuated dragons, giants, medieval weapons and armour. They've even intricately highlighted the blonde hair of characters such as Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, and the red locks of Sansa Stark. In the style of the Bayeux Tapestry, the 11th century embroidered cloth that illustrates events leading up to the Norman invasion of England, the GOT tapestry depicts the main scenes from the world's popular television series, many of them murderous or depicting battles. The series has been partly filmed here since 2010 and has already greatly broadened the north's worldwide tourism appeal.

An impressive 66m in length when unveiled last month, once series seven of Game Of Thrones ends, the completed Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland-commissioned tapestry will be 77m long – dwarfing its famous French forebear, which clocks in at 68m.

Before being woven and embroidered, each key scene and character from the show had to be painstakingly recreated and digitally designed by artists and illustrators, condensing more than 77 hours’ of on-screen storytelling into the tapestry. As each episode of the current series is broadcast in Ireland and Britain, sewers including Valerie Wilson and Peggy Hagan intricately embroider the Jacquard woven material from linen firm Thomas Ferguson in Banbridge.

Valerie Wilson, Ulster Museum's costume and textile curator, says that the sewers, aged from their mid-20s to 82, were garnered from the volunteers from The Embroiderers Guild and the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild, which work closely with National Museums NI. "The tapestry project was only offered to the museum very recently and it was accepted with the intention of engaging new audiences. We were asked not only to host the tapestry but to find a team of people who could add embroidered highlights to it,” she says. "When I put the word out through that network, we had an amazing response. There was a real mixture on the team, of people who really knew the series plot and characters, some like me who just dipped in and out of the series, and some who hadn't watched an episode. But we always had one person each day who watched the series, which was a great help."

Embroidering the latest part of the Game Of Thrones tapestry Picture: Ann McManus

Secrecy was paramount; "It was all very hush-hush and was completed in a matter of weeks for its July 17 unveiling," Valerie says. "The tapestry would come into us in 11m-long panels of material which was woven on Jacquard machines, much in the same way you would make damask linen. “The panels were sent every few days and there would normally be about six of us working on the panel – you really couldn't have any more embroiderers working on it at the same time as everybody needed their elbow room."

Valerie studied textiles and fashion before joining the Ulster Museum and is a keen embroiderer herself. She can sometimes be seen over the weekends at the exhibition, embroidering a panel showing events from the previous week's episode. She says that working on the Game Of Thrones tapestry has been one of the more unusual projects in her 30-year career at the museum.

"Put it this way – it's a long way from Woman's Weekly and the petit-point style of embroidery but it was fascinating," she says. “The designers sent us a really detailed plan for each feature panel where they actually selected what they wanted highlighted. As an embroiderer you never get written instructions like, ‘Use blue or green to enhance the dead girl's pallor’. “But they trusted us to make the right colour shade choices and stitch choices. “The choice of stitches was mostly our own. We stuck to fairly simple stitches, chain stitches, back stitch and split stitch, the sort of stitching that you would find in very old textiles or medieval textiles as it was very different to embroidering a rose on a piece of silk. It was great fun and the craic was amazing.” Peggy (82), from Bangor, found herself to be an unlikely heroine to one of her grandsons and his friends once she revealed to her family that the secret project she had been working on involved had been the Game Of Thrones tapestry. Peggy has been involved in needlecrafts, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, lace-making and patchwork for all her life, mostly for a hobby at home but at one time professionally. She's a member of the North Down patchwork and quilting guild and a member of the lace guild based at the Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra.

Thanks to Joanne Sweeny and The Irish News for the content of this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed this; I loved it. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017 16:10

Adam Savage Becomes an Extra in Blade Runner 2049

Written by

Once more, Adam Savage steps into the scene ... this time he's a background actor; a street merchant  in wardrobe and makeup, in the world of Blade Runner 2049 ...

Awsomesauce ...

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 15:58

An Overview of the Dye Room

Written by

Carol Lingwood and Lizzy Honeybone from the National Theatre talks to us about the dye room. Notice how they have it set up for work; brushes together, sanding gear together, and of course, the tea cups ...

Page 1 of 67

The Costumer's Notebook,

The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.