Belfast Telegraph

Potter Helen to bowl over fans with secrets of how Thrones' props are made

By Victoria Leonard

Game of Thrones fans will get a chance to view a range of props created for the blockbuster fantasy drama when a local craftswoman opens the doors to her east Belfast studio tomorrow.

Local people following the battle for the Iron Throne will be able to survey a range of ceramic pieces created by potter Helen Faulkner, which featured in one of the most talked-about segments of the current series.

As part of Craft NI's August Craft Month, visitors can view some of the work which Helen crafted for Samwell Tarley's stomach-turning appearance in the first episode of season seven, which showed the menial tasks he was forced to complete during his time in the Citadel.

Helen revealed that her role had given her a glimpse into the immense work which goes into setting the scene for HBO's hit TV series, from storyboards to prosthetic corpses.

"I heard that Game of Thrones were looking for a tableware potter last summer during filming," Helen told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The level of detail of the set designers is unbelievable - they have everything from trims for fabrics to storyboards, and they knew exactly what they wanted and what colour.

"They gave me some pieces to make copies of to see if it was what they were looking for, then I went to their prop storage warehouse in the Titanic Quarter," she added.

"I met a prop-maker who was making shackles, as well as seeing a prosthetic silicone corpse of a flayed man which jiggled when I walked past it.

"It was really exciting to see the skills involved and to see it all together as part of a much bigger picture.

"I made 150 pieces in total, including plates, goblets, terracotta jugs and ceramic basins, which were copies of a lovely marble platter from the prop house.

"It took about four weeks and I am told that the majority of my work features in episode one of season seven in a gross-out scene, although the large basins have yet to appear."

In the first episode of this series, viewers were treated to a memorable montage juxtaposing trainee 'maester' Samwell Tarly serving food and cleaning bedpans.

Helen says that she is planning to 'binge-watch' previous series of the programme to catch up with the story so far, so that she can appreciate the significance of the scene in which her products appear.

The potter, who has also created items for ITV series The Frankenstein Chronicles starring Sean Bean, says that shows like Game of Thrones have reawakened interest in the craft sector in Northern Ireland.

Her own craft business grew out of business development programme Making It, established by Invest NI, Craft NI and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to encourage sustainable creative sector start-ups.

Helen's workshop will take place tomorrow from 10.30am-4pm at Owen O'Cork Mill on the Beersbridge Road.

Visit augustcraftmonth.com for a full programme of events taking place.

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