Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-seamstress-is-on-course-to-single-handedly-complete-full-size-copy-of-bayeux-tapestry-in-11-years-–-saying-the-project-has-become-‘an-obsession’-for-herAlert – Seamstress is on course to single-handedly complete full-size copy of Bayeux Tapestry in 11 years – saying the project has become ‘an obsession’ for her

The original is an impressive 230ft long, 20in tall and is believed to have taken a team of English seamstresses around a decade to complete.

But Mia Hansson is on course to finish her full-size copy of the Bayeux Tapestry in the same amount of time – single-handedly.

The step-mother-of-two began her project in 2016 and expects to finish it in 2027 while its source material is said to have been ready by 1077, 11 years after the Battle of Hastings.

Ms Hansson is 141ft through, despite caring full-time for her partner’s eldest child and having to put up with enforced absences from the project, such as packing up to avoid dust from home renovations and going on family holidays.

‘I do it by not sleeping. I’m incredibly dedicated. If you ask people who know me they’ll tell you I’m as stubborn as a mule,’ she said.

‘It’s kind of an obsession. I need it more than I want it.’

Mia Hansson is on course to finish her full-size copy of the Bayeux Tapestry in the same amount of time as it took to make the real one – single-handedly

The step-mother-of-two began her project in 2016 and expects to finish it in 2027 while its source material is said to have been ready by 1077, 11 years after the Battle of Hastings

Close up detail of Mia Hansson’s full-size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, which has so far taken her almost six years to stitch, with Mia spending up to 10 hours a day working on it at her home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

Ms Hansson, 49, was a talented seamstress making costumes for historical reenactments and children’s glove puppets when a friend commissioned her to make a 5ft panel of the start of the Bayeux Tapestry. Challenge accepted, she ended up deciding to do the whole thing.

She spent six months researching how to copy it as accurately as possible, learning about the hand-dyed woollen yarns used on the original in a Normandy museum.

A book with pictures of the original is used to draw each image on cloth before she embroiders the outline and then fills it in.

After years of patiently recreating every detail to scale, it is not the noble horses or ships that she looks forward to tackling most. Instead she relishes the intricacies of the humble trees which feature.

‘When I first started out I though my favourite bits would be horses or ships,’ Ms Hansson said.

‘But my favourite is trees because I am very fond of the Celtic knotwork which has interlaced branches and colours. Imagine a tree with branches going over and under each other – it gives depth and is very tactile.’

Ms Hansson, who lives in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, with her partner and his two children, has only seen the Bayeux Tapestry once on a family holiday to France 17 years ago.

She had hoped to see it again last year when it was due to come to the UK for an exhibition but that was called off due to concerns about whether it would survive the trip.

Her copy is kept safe rolled up in linen bags, with each 30ft roll stored safely in a suitcase if she needs to transport them anywhere.

Ms Hansson, 49, was a talented seamstress making costumes for historical reenactments and children’s glove puppets when a friend commissioned her to make a 5ft panel of the start of the Bayeux Tapestry. Challenge accepted, she ended up deciding to do the whole thing

Experts have estimated it could sell for £1million when complete. Around £300,000 is the basic value for the approximate 10,000 hours she will have put in, with the rest added on because the piece is so rare

She spent six months researching how to copy it as accurately as possible, learning about the hand-dyed woollen yarns used on the original in a Normandy museum

A book with pictures of the original is used to draw each image on cloth before she embroiders the outline and then fills it in

Mia Hanson holding her replica of the Bayeux Tapestry which she began in July 2016

Experts have estimated it could sell for £1million when complete. Around £300,000 is the basic value for the approximate 10,000 hours she will have put in, with the rest added on because the piece is so rare.

Only two others are known to exist: one is half size and the other is in smaller panels.

Ms Hansson, who grew up in Sweden where she was taught to embroider by her mother, admitted she was considering parting with it for the right sum but said: ‘I didn’t set out to sell it. I set out to do something I couldn’t finish in a hurry.’

The original tapestry shows events culminating in the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 when William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

It is thought to have been made by seamstresses in Kent after being commissioned by Bishop Odo, William the Conqueror’s half-brother.

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