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Posted 26.03.18

From Game of Thrones to Elizabeth I with costumier Michele Carragher

By Kat Peberdy

Michele Carragher, right, with BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts Programme Leader Marie Dunaway

Creating ornate and intricate costumes for the many characters within Game of Thrones (GoT), principal embroiderer for the show Michele Carragher’s work incorporates lace, cording, ribbon, beads, sequins, and even diamonds.

Michele is a London-based Hand Embroiderer and Illustrator who has been working in costume on Film and Television productions for over 20 years. Titles such as HBO's 2005 Emmy Costume award-winning production of Elizabeth 1, ITV's David Copperfield and Mansfield Park and the BBC drama Peaky Blinders all reside on her extensive CV.

Her involvement in all GoT seasons so far has seen her embroidered pieces worn by characters Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Sansa Stark, Margaery Tyrell and Ellaria Sand among many others. Her pieces often evolving with the storylines, with minute detailing reflecting the characters ever-changing positions of power and relationships with each other.

A piece created for HBO's Game of Thrones

Michele visited BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts students to discuss her career so far, as well as hold a workshop where students could explore a variety of materials and specialist techniques.

Student Jessica Maggie Lake said, “I was fascinated to learn more about her process and exactly what goes into the stunningly beautiful, detailed embroideries that I have been fascinated by since I first watched Game of Thrones.

Michele talks with BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts students during the workshop

“I also had the exciting opportunity to meet Michele and ask her technical questions about her craft that she was more than happy to answer. As an artist and aspiring costumier, Michele has inspired me to experiment with new materials, and to practise and develop my own hand embroidery skills, as it is definitely an art form I'd like to explore in the future.”

After studying Fashion Design at The London College of Fashion, Michele went into textile conservation, offering her the perfect opportunity to develop her embroidery skills by practising on the many textiles that came through the door.

Being able to handle embroidery pieces, take photographs and have Michele Carragher in our studio all at the same time was incredible, her skill and works produced are mind-blowing.

– Debra Harper, BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts student

Then, through some friends making amateur short films, she became involved in the world of filmmaking, soon gravitating towards the decoration and embellishment of costumes. Using skills in hand embroidery and surface decoration, she took inspiration from the many historical textiles she had encountered working as a Textile Conservator.

An intricate design from Michele for a Game of Thrones costume

Michele’s visit is just one of the many varied visiting industry leaders who share their practice with our BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts students. For more information on the opportunities available to students interested in costume production, take a look at the programme page.