Thérèse Makes a Tapestry

Cover image of Thérèse Makes a Tapestry, written by Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs

Thérèse Makes a Tapestry

Getty Publications

ISBN 978-1-60606-473-3

Ages 6 and up

Step back in time to seventeenth-century Paris with Thérèse, a talented young girl who lives and works at the Gobelins Manufactory, where Europe’s greatest artisans make tapestries and luxury objects for King Louis XIV. Even though girls are not trained on the great looms there, Thérèse practices on a small one at home and dreams of becoming a royal weaver someday. This charming story follows Thérèse as she carries out an ambitious plan with the help of family, friends, and the artisans of the Gobelins. The intricate craft of tapestry weaving is illuminated, and surprises await Thérèse, her parents and brothers, and even the king himself. Children’s book author Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs here breathes vivid life into a delightful tale full of fun twists and an appealing cast of characters. Original paintings by award-winning artist Renée Graef playfully illustrate the book, as well as the many steps involved in the creation of the famous Gobelins tapestries, from dying wool and making silver thread, to painting and copying the elaborate designs, to the delicate art of weaving. Thérèse’s fictional adventures are inspired by real people, the actual Gobelins Manufactory, and a beautiful tapestry that hangs today in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Awards & Recognition

Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement 2017

PubWest Book Design Award 2017

CCBC Choices 2016

A Mighty Girl Selection

Reviews

“This charming narrative of a determined girl’s artistic talent and will to succeed in the family business makes a compelling story on an unusual topic.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Thérèse Makes a Tapestry] offers a child-focused window into a time-honored artistic tradition.” – Publishers Weekly

“In seventeenth-century Paris, a talented girl creates a tapestry based on a painting by her father. King Louis XIV commissions a larger version for Versailles, even though females at the king’s factory aren’t permitted to be weavers. This story reveals the complexity of weaving, while realistic paintings capture the period and help elucidate the artistic process. An author’s note and pronunciation guide are appended.” – Horn Book Guide

[Thérèse Makes a Tapestry] successfully explains historical weaving techniques by combining the steps of the process with a fictional story about a young girl creating a tapestry as a surprise gift for her father. Though no sources are listed, the author’s note delineates the factual information from the invented framework. In the nicely complementary illustrations, many scenes look like tapestries themselves, while other pages have ornate frames, reflecting an artistic sensibility throughout. […] the story also will appeal to anyone intrigued by the craft involved in fabric art or by the time period in general.” – Booklist 

“Inspired by a tapestry on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum, this fictional tale of a family who work and live at the historic Gobelins Manufactory transports readers to 17th-century Paris. A third-person narrator reveals how a young girl creates a small tapestry for her father, a court painter for Louis XIV. Mother and daughter wind yarn onto spools for brother Mathieu to skillfully weave while father and brother Henri paint the scenes that inspire these beautiful tapestries, which are destined for palace walls. Though girls traditionally did not weave, Thérèse is so touched by a small painting of the palace in winter that her father gives her that she is moved to create a tapestry of it to surprise him. When King Louis pays a visit, he notices her small but carefully crafted piece and wants it for himself. Quick-thinking Henri saves the day, leaving all happy and satisfied. A loving family and determined young protagonist make this lengthy, somewhat special picture book more accessible. Endpapers feature a map of the Manufactory, which includes a weaving workshop, a painting studio, and more. Rich, detailed illustrations help readers understand the tools, materials, and process of creating a tapestry as well as how people dressed and lived during this period.” – School Library Journal

“This picture book seamlessly blends factual and fictional information into an engaging narrative. Thérèse’s story is inspired by real tapestries, real people and a real place, and Hinrichs has done her homework, researching the workings of the Gobelins Manufactory and the lives of the people whose work we still marvel at today.” – Ronna Mandel, L.A. Parent

“Thérèse’s story is told with great attention to detail and lovely language, while accompanying illustrations are beautiful and will help readers really get lost in the story.” – San Francisco Book Review

“Through an engaging picture story, we learn about the process that was used to make intricate tapestries at the Gobelins Manufactory in 17th-century France. Thérèse is a fictional character but she comes to life in Renée Graef’s detailed and meticulously researched illustrations that give us a sense of what it was like for a child growing up in a family of artisans. This is an elegant volume that will be a pleasure for families to read together.” – Kathleen Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, UW-Madison School of Education

Thérèse Makes a Tapestry fulfills the need for more quality children’s books about art that are at the same time accessible to a wide audience. Parents, educators, and librarians will easily be able to incorporate this book into storytimes or lesson plans while children will enjoy it for the engaging historical story, satisfying premise and strong visual appeal.” – Madeline J. Bryant, Senior Librarian, Children’s Literature Department, Los Angeles Public Library

“As a lifelong sewist and avid knitter, I appreciate the craftsmanship in any handmade item. Thérèse Makes a Tapestry by Alexandra Hinrichs is a lushly illustrated history of the tradition of tapestry making. From the spinning and dying of the wool and the wrapping of the loom to the outlining of the design, each intricate step is wonderfully detailed through our young heroine, Thérèse. A splendid introduction to a timeless craft!” – Holly Myers, Elliott Bay Book Company 

 Feature articles

“From Tapestry to Picture Book: A Unique Collaboration” – Publishers Weekly

“New Children’s Book by Bangor Author Weaves Fascinating Tale” – Bangor Daily News