Trace : The Embroidered Art of Michele Carragher

4.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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Exquisitely detailed and sumptuously worked, Michele Carragher's embroidered art is breathtaking to behold.

This comprehensive insight into her work guides you from her initial ideas, right through to the finished, astonishing pieces of work, collectively titled Trace.

Rich in symbolism and drawing inspiration from throughout history, the book contains three created, embroidered artefacts: a lavish glove, jewelled bodice and Japanese-style hair pin. From these she extracts a narrative which becomes the basis for three embroidered artworks, exploring themes of human duality and our behavioural effects on society and the planet. The book begins with an immersive, exquisitely photographed gallery tour of all the pieces, showcasing Michele's work in incredible detail. Following on from this, each artefact and artwork is discussed in detail, giving insight into the working process, creative choices and techniques used.

Michele has worked for many years in the film and TV industry, including as Costume Embroiderer for HBO's Game of Thrones, and HBO's 2005 Emmy award winning production of Elizabeth I. The last chapter of the book features a selection of images from her inspiring catalogue of work.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 216 x 280 x 17mm | 972g
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 400 Illustrations, color
  • 1782217436
  • 9781782217435
  • 39,610

Table of contents

The artworks 6, All that glitters 8, Entropy 20, Conscience 40, Introduction 50, The artist's insight 54, Artefact insight: the hand 56, Artwork insight: all that glitters 74, Artefact insight: the heart 88, Artwork insight: entropy 102, Artefact insight: the head 118, Artwork insight: conscience 126, My summary 134, Costume embroidery gallery 136, My history 138, Acknowledgements 174
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Review quote

Scrumptious! That was the verdict when I showed this book to my 'Beyond Stitch' friends. This is not a 'how to' book. It's a 'wish I could' book, according to my friend Jane, a book to delight and inspire and provide an escape from the news and the weather. There are many full-page photographs and close-ups which allow the reader to appreciate the work that has gone into the production of the pieces. I think the cover wins the 'Best Cover of all Time' award. Lots of details of the hummingbird shown are contained in the book.

Most of us will be familiar with the materials that Michele uses but she gives us new insights into the effects we can achieve with them. The first fifty pages are mostly shots of three art pieces and, while there is a degree of repetition, it is useful to be able to view each piece from many angles.

This section is followed by 'The Artist's Insight' in which Michele describes how to find inspiration. She is a big fan of museums and I'm with her there. She says that with her costume work, she delves into the past to give her insight into a character's background. Anyone who has seen her Game of Thrones costumes will know how well she succeeded. The next section of the book describes in detail three artefacts: a 'gauntlet', a stomacher and a hair ornament. The first of these is an Elizabethan-inspired jewelled and embroidered glove and I love the fact that she not only made the love but placed it on a beautiful background suited to the period. There are descriptions here of the process of making the glove, not step-by-step but sufficient for an avid stitcher to pick up lots of ideas.

You will find many fascinating insets in this section of the book, describing how she has used these techniques for costumes in cinema and television series. The next piece described is a poor fallen robin with amazing wings formed using real feathers on a needle-felted base. 'All That Glitters' is a piece depicting a dappled glade with a marten's head. There is a description of the techniques used. For instance, the use of a glided 'cage' placed over a base and covered with stitching, gives an amazing effect. For this Michelle uses traditional goldwork techniques, as you can see in this close-up photo. Her photos show the detail really well.

Throughout the book, there are delightful little panels headed 'Working Insights' which tell stories about how she came to discover techniques used for particular series and pieces of work. There are further descriptions of pieces, all wonderful. The jewelled 'skeletons' of birds, shown below, deserve special mention and the delightful Kingfisher, shown on the cover, gives the reader the chance to explore, in close-up, the techniques used. A final section on costumes from the Game of Thrones series is the icing on the cake.

All through writing this review, I was thinking of my late friend Jane Lemon who produced such amazing goldwork pieces. Although she could work to strictly traditional guidelines for her altar frontals, Jane's 'off-duty' work and three-dimensional pieces were ahead of her time. Jane would have loved this book, just as much as I do. -- Maggie Grey * WOWBooks * Exquisitely detailed and sumptuously worked, Michele's embroidered art is breath-taking. This comprehensive insight into her work guides us from initial ideas to finished pieces. Michele has worked for many years in th film and TV industry, such as costume embroiderer for Games of Thrones and the Emmy award-winning Elizabeth I. The last chapter features images from her inspiring catalogue of work. -- Machine Knitting Monthly * Machine Knitting Monthly * What a gorgeous addition to any costumer or designers library! Exquisite photography. Michele walks you through her work with interesting detail. As a profession tambour beader and designer/seamstress for tv, film and live events let me assure you this book is a must have. -- Janet Gershenfeld * Amazon Customer Review * I love this beautifully illustrated and inspirational book. It made me immediately want to get get out my embroidery equipment! The book is divided into three sections. The first contains many stunning photographs of Michele's amazing artworks. The middle section is called "The Artist's Insight" and details the author's development of ideas and the creative process. I particularly enjoyed reading about the materials and methods used. The final section covers some of the fabulous TV and film costumes Michele has worked on, including the stunning Game of Thrones costumes. The whole book is beautifully illustrated and, I think, a "must have" for anyone interested in embroidery and costume. -- Beverley Chamberlain * Amazon * "WOW!" An exquisite coffee table book which you will pick up again and again, each time finding a new aspect to focus on. A book to give a little lift to your mood and stay in the memory. You may win the draw but it would be a very special Christmas gift. Even if you are not an embroiderer as an artist you will love this book.

The photography of these unbelievable gorgeous embroideries is quite breathtaking, described as a gallery tour and obviously involved a great deal of thinking to achieve the final results. It features three lavish artefacts.

A great deal of research went into producing each artefact, visiting museums and reading history to influence the final designs. The process is beautifully explained and a joy to read.

Michele Carragher is a contributor to the exquisite costumes, made for the "Game of Thrones" and gives an insight into the conception and making of costumes for this popular series. All beautifully photographed. Each costume featuring the embroideries involved, plus a description of input from other very talented artists. I found the reading quite fascinating, leading me on to read more about the materials used to achieve such amazing results.

This really is a very, very special book quite the most spectacular book we have ever had for our review. * International Journal of the Guild of Silk Painters *
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About Michele Carragher

Michele Carragher studied Fashion Design and worked in textile conservation, repairing and restoring historical textiles. She then moved into costume embroidery for film and television, whilst continuing to develop her career as a mixed media artist. Embroidery became her main medium, predominantly raised embroidery, combining it with more contemporary techniques to create artwork that is both original and refreshing, and influenced by nature and the use of symbolism, metaphor and narrative.

Michele has worked on a number of prestigious productions, including the award-winning production of Elizabeth I and more recently The Crown and HBO's multi costume award-winning television series Game of Thrones, working on all eight seasons.

The success of Game of Thrones, and the recognition and appreciation of the costumes that she has worked on, have gone on to help highlight Michele's work. Many of the costumes that Michele embroidered for the show have been on exhibition in various museums in the US.

Michele's work on the show, along with her own personal textile artworks, have been featured in many renowned craft magazines and other press outlets worldwide, including The New Yorker and The Telegraph. She has given many talks and workshops to embroidery groups, and textile, costume and embroidery students. Michele has also been commissioned to create artworks which have sold to private collectors.
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Rating details

4 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 25% (1)
4 75% (3)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
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