People are passionate about the books, movies and television series that they love, and the creative are often inspired to pay tribute to these things they love through their art. Fan art and collectibles are a huge part of any fandom, and Game of Thrones is no exception. The art and collectibles being produced that is inspired by the HBO series (as well as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series upon which the show is based) is staggering. Fans of the show are using a vast array of media to pay tribute to Game of Thrones, it’s characters, costumes and props. Collections run from the extremely diverse to the obsessively specific, from the incredibly expensive to the surprisingly affordable. There is no limit to what you can find to collect, as you’ll see from the art and artifacts mentioned below. From Photoshop to woodworking, antique books, clay and the finest silk, you’ll find the media being used by these artists and craftspeople is staggeringly varied.
Recently, I had the great pleasure of delving deep into the world of Game of Thrones fan art and collectibles. I got to speak with eight incredibly talented people from all over the globe, who were gracious enough to allow me a behind the scenes peek at the muses, methods and media that they use to produce their incredible art and unique collectible pieces.
Ruth Fabiano of FabWorks, says she does a little bit of everything, but her main business is in woodburning and wood crafting. Ruth is most widely known for her “books,” wooden boxes that are books in appearance, but actually open to become keepsake boxes. Starting her designs in Photoshop, she then transfers the image to the wooden surface. Next comes the wood burner, which can reach temperatures up to 950 degrees. Ruth then paints, adds a protective coat, outlining, and sometimes extra details such as charms, feathers, chains, and more. Her other popular Game of Thrones inspired products include wooden house sigil plaques, nesting dolls and playing cards. A deck of tarot cards is also in the works. Ruth loves custom orders and commissions, saying she loves to be “stretched” and challenged as an artist, enjoying the opportunity to expand her horizons.
In my search for art that was unique and different, I discovered Little Vintage Chest, and Dana Simona Tabacaru’s gorgeous dictionary print art. Based in Brasov, Romania, Dana uses pages saved from damaged vintage dictionaries or antique books, then prints images over the text. The result is a slightly transparent image, and the pages are beautifully golden with age. The books she upcycles are vintage, some are over one hundred fifty years old. Her current sources are a vintage Romanian Dictionary and a German medical text, printed in gothic text in Dresden, 1869. The images she uses she finds in lithographic card prints or very old encyclopedias. Dana feels that her art has the ability to reach to us “from a world out of memory,” as some of the images used are two or three hundred years old. First enhancing the coloring of the images, Dana then embarks upon a three step printing process, which must be carried out extremely carefully, as some of the book pages are very delicate. Her portfolio includes exotic birds, plants and quotes, as well as Game of Thrones inspired images. First introduced to the fandom when she discovered the HBO series, Dana then devoured the books. She says that creating prints inspired by Game of Thrones then came very naturally. Dana has hopes that her work will add beauty to people’s homes and lives and I’ve no doubt that this will come to pass.
Houndofsiru creates designs for T-shirts, iPhone and iPad Cases and prints. The designs begin with pen and paper and after drawing the pictures by hand, they are then scanned for editing using GIMP. Houndofsiru makes these edits in GIMP with special brushes, which are are also all self made. “I started making my own photo edits and gifs that I posted on my tumblr blog,” she says, “Before that I hadn’t really had any experience on any kind of graphic editing.” As a dedicated House Clegane fan, she was disappointed that there weren’t very many House Clegane specific products available, so she decided she would just have to fill that niche herself, thus a business was born. Recently, Houndofsiru has begun to expand her product line, adding designs featuring Sansa Stark, and the fan favorite, Hodor. The next characters she plans to put on paper are Night’s Watchmen Grenn and Pyp. Houndofsiru has been a toy collector for the past ten years, and her biggest wish is that someone would begin to produce realistic looking Game of Thrones action figures based on the HBO series characters.
Brittny Vimislik of The Zen Frog, began watching Game of Thrones on a recommendation from her father, a fan of the book series. Brittny fell in love with the series and has been hooked ever since. Inspired by the scene in which Daenerys is gifted her dragon eggs, Brittny says, “I personally wanted a set for myself because what girl doesn’t want a set of dragon eggs? But you cant go to the local mall and purchase them so I decided to try and create my own one scale at a time.” Although her dragon eggs and most of her sculpted art are made of polymer clay and painted with acrylic paints, she’s also used things like twine, food coloring, glitter, moss, paper, and leather. Brittny finds much of her inspiration in nature, collecting sticks, leaves, or flowers to enhance her creations. Always thinking of new ways to expand on her art, Brittny’s favorite thing to create are her beautiful dragon eggs ranging in size, color, and shape, however she loves to create anything mythological with a hint of magic in it, such as crafted potion bottles, Mushroom terrariums, and unicorn horns. Here’s hoping we’ll see many more Game of Thrones inspired items, perhaps a potion line featuring The Tears of Lys, Milk of the Poppy and Dreamwine. With Brittny’s enthusiasm, I’m convinced that the possibilities are endless!
For those collectors like myself who are looking for something completely different, Game of Thrones cookie stamps certainly fit the bill! Totalum is a shop that features hard plastic cookie stamps which are used to press into cookie dough to make raised shapes on the cookie. Proprietor J, makes cookie stamps, hard plastic circular stamps, heated and molded by hand around a shape to create the her designs. Originally inspired when reading The Hunger Games, J, a keen home baker, decided to try to make her own mockingjay cookies after seeing others frustrated in their attempts to crate the perfect cookie. She began to research materials and within only six months, was running a successful online business. Proof that it can really pay off when you begin to think outside the box. “I’m a typical girl that gets obsessed in all the latest pop culture crazes… as well as good old classic geek stuff, My cookie stamps reflect that. Not to mention that all my friends were asking for GoTs cookies…and how could I say no?” J asks. She plans to introduce additional House sigil cookie stamps, saying that she just can’t stop adding new cookie stamps!
Christy Olson creates personalized jewelry from copper pennies, coins, and remnants of copper scrap. She then hand hammers and metal stamps each piece into one of a kind keepsakes. She tells me that her favorite thing to do is take a solid copper penny, smash it to bits so it looks like a piece of forged metal and give it a glorious shine. Christy loves doing custom work, as she feels that her fans have the best ideas. The Game of Thrones fandom means so much to so many and Christy certainly finds this to be true. “The Game of Thrones series is so far reaching. People everywhere want to tell their loved ones in Dothraki how much they mean to them. Or the simple words of “not today” that resonate with people in all different ways. One of my clients bought a “not today” keychain for her husband, a soldier in Iraq, as it is the last thing they say to each other before they get off the phone.” Something about the hand hewn look of the copper pennies put Christy in mind of what the characters might have worn in the world of George R.R. Martin. “Hand stamped, each piece is unique, lovely in its rustic and organic nature. Some might call it flawed, imperfect and unusual, but thats just like my favorite people in my life… and just like all my favorite characters on Game of Thrones.” Find them at Christy’s etsy page.
Bonnie Tucker of Bon’s Snazzy Stitchez began sewing as a hobby and more specifically to create unique clothing for her young daughter. Bonnie first saw the design for the basic coffee cozy online. “People were doing knitted ones, crochet, sewn. And I thought it was a really neat idea. So I made up my own template for the size & shape and went from there… Then I thought how neat it would be to show which house you were loyal to in Game of Thrones! Since I have lots of GoT fans, those kind of took priority over any of my other stuff.” Bonnie’s goal was to cover her costs and make it worth the time it takes to make them, but also to keep them affordable so that the average Game of Thrones fan could buy them on a whim and not feel guilty. All of Bonnie’s work is done on a sewing machine that she received as a gift form her grandmother. “She sent me home with the sewing machine, the instruction manual, and she told me to go buy some cheap fabric, easy patterns and teach myself how to sew.” Little did her grandmother know, but her hand-me down sewing machine would be the foundation of Bonnie’s future business. Coffee cozies are only the beginning for Bonnie. She’s been working to develop a line of bags that will debut soon, then she’d like to design iPad covers. I think that we can expect great things from Bonnie!
Even before the HBO series premiered, cosplayer Ylenia Manganelli was a huge fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. “Cersei Lannister was her character (I know you think I’m crazy) and I wanted to dress like her. To do that, I needed a Banner… and I needed an Iron Throne to sit on!” Studies of the Classics (Latin and Ancient Greek) inspired Ylenia’s love of history, while her architectural studies helped her to become familiar with design. All of this combined with a love of craft work moved her to study sewing and theatrical tailoring. Based near Florence, Italy, Princess & Dragon provides hand made, high quality historic, medieval and fantasy inspired costumes, accessories and banners for cosplay and reenactments as well as individual collectors. Yelenia let me in on one of her secrets, “I am lucky, I live in Tuscany, just one hour from one of the fabrics warehouses where HBO’s costume designers source from. Together with high quality italian fabrics, trimmings or other components, we use the same materials HBO uses for its garments, when possible.” In addition to House sigil banners and realistic character costumes, Ylenia even has the ultimate collectible, her amazing life-sized replica of the Iron Throne! What Game of Thrones fan wouldn’t want that?
During my search for Game of Thrones inspired fan art and collectibles, I was amazed at the variety of items that are available to fans of the series. Narrowing down my choices was incredibly difficult, as there is such an abundance of high quality art and fascinating collectibles out there. My criteria were simple, I set out to find unique, high quality products in a variety of price ranges and a variety of media, created by artists who possess a deep love of Game of Thrones. This was easier said than done, and I wish I could have included so many more artists here in this, already lengthy, piece. I came across everything from bookmarks and magnets, to replica swords and knitted figurines, all inspired by their creators love for Game of Thrones. Throughout all of the interviews, I was struck by the passion and warmth of the incredible artists who were so willing to speak with me and share their stories and their secrets. All share an enthusiasm for expanding their product lines and for working together with other fans to create new and custom art pieces. They are not only creating this art for themselves, but for the joy of their fellow fans. I hope that this will inspire fans to explore the vast world of Game of Thrones fan art and collectibles, as this is truly only the tip of the iceberg.
MJ Snow is a Canine and avian behavior specialist by day; a role player, blogger and writer by night. A long time George RR Martin fangirl and Game of Thrones Addict, MJ spends way too much time in Westeros. MJ is the founder of The Snow Keep, a short story and fan-ficiton blog and The Brothers Clegane, a Sandor & Gregor Clegane tribute blog, she also co-curates several other Game of Thrones themed blogs.