What It's Really Like... To Work On The Set Of Game Of Thrones 7 years ago

What It's Really Like... To Work On The Set Of Game Of Thrones

Emma Andrews is a textile artist and jeweller. 

When she is not working on her own art and jewellery, she works in the drapery department of Game of Thrones. Emma is part of the team responsible for all the beautifully detailed stitching we see on crests, flags, costumes and tapestries in every episode and has worked on all five series of the hit TV show.


Emma's department won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes For A Series in both 2012 and 2014 and took some time this week to chat to Her.ie about her career.

Tell us a little about what you do…

I am a drapes assistant for the film and television industry. For the last five five years, I have worked on HBO’s TV series Game Of Thrones.


Working on GOT is a full time job for six to seven months of the year and for the remaining five months, I continue to do drapes work on other shows. Last year, I worked on The Fall, Shooting for Socrates and a few television adverts.

With any spare time I have, I design and make my own range of jewellery. I describe myself as a textile artist – I use fabulous Indian skills and taffetas to make jewellery and accessories. I sell my work at the National Crafts And Design Fair in the RDS. I have been selling there for the last ten years, it’s a fantastic show.

How did you get to your current position?

I have been making my own textile art since graduating from art college. A buyer from GOT lifted my business card from a shop in Belfast and then contacted me about doing some embroidery for the show. After working on the embroidery, I moved into drapes, which is a part of the set decoration department.


What is your typical working day?

We start in our workshop at the studios at 7.30am. The set decorator, called Boss, will give us the concept for a set, as well as any plans and measurements we need. We choose the fabrics, decide on the sizes, style, trims etc. and then the making begins. There is usually a lot to make and a short amount of time to make it. We work at a furious pace, cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing some more. In a blink of an eye, it is 6.30pm and time for home.

Why did you choose your current career?

I am a maker first and foremost but jobs with my particular skills in textiles are very limited. After leaving college, I felt there where only two options for me… either go into teaching or try and make it on my own. I had no idea that the film industry had any jobs to suit me.


One phone call changed my life. This is my dream job with good prospects for a long future in the industry. I will never stop making my own designs but can now enjoy that part of my life more as I am more financially stable.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your career?

TIME! I find it very difficult to balance my working year. For six months, I work 11 hour days, five days a week. I never feel that I have enough time to spend with my friends and family. For the other six months, I have more time but no guaranteed weekly wages.

What are the most rewarding aspects?

I love what I do. I have met some amazing creative people and really do feel part of a team. Drapes was made for me. I still cant believe I get paid for doing something I enjoy so much.


Could you ever see your work taking you away from Ireland?

I often have to travel for work. We film in Spain, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco so there is always an option to work overseas.

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?

Whatever you do, don't worry!

What has been the one ‘pinch me’ moment of your career so far?

This year, Game of Thrones won an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction and I was on this winning team! Even when holding the Emmy, it didn't seem real.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do?

People may think the film industry is glamourous but it is not! It is great fun and very rewarding but there is no glamour. I work in a shed with a concrete floor and no heating!

What is the biggest mistake that you think people in your chosen sector make?

Not listening. If you are prepared to listen, you will learn a lot.

Describe what you want to achieve in your career with one sentence.

I want to achieve a long career that continues to be enjoyable.

Emma will be showcasing her own ranges at the the National Crafts And Design Fair in the RDS from Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 7th December.