Sunday, 18 September 2016

Northern Sole @ The Bowes Museum: A Review

Hello lovelies!

I was kindly invited to review 'Northern Sole' at the Bowes Museum yesterday, a festival in celebration of Northern design, street style and creativity.  As you well know, I love the Bowes Museum and always enjoy visiting, but this time I was really excited to see what was in store!


It was a beautiful Saturday, so the museum was at it's prettiest!  I took my lovely friend Krissi with me to the festival; she's an avid shoe lover and trainer enthusiast so I knew she'd be the perfect companion.

We were met in reception by Alison, who checked us off the list and presented us with our free socks!   Bloggers love a good freebie, but I've never been given free socks before so this really made me laugh! I absolutely love mine, in whacky neon yellow!

Thanks Alison for taking this photo-such a giggle!

We began our day in the Jubilee room, where there were so many amazing workshops being delivered by so many different professionals, that it was difficult to decide where to start!  First up, there was Bobzilla, a North-East based street artist who was encouraging people to try their hand at their own version of street art.  When we arrived there were lots of people trying this out so it was great to see what amazing work they had already created.

We then talked to Lesley from Scott Leathers, a Barnard Castle based business that specialises in creating amazing, bespoke, made to measure motorcycle suits.  She showed us how to pattern cut leather pieces from templates that would go on to be part of each suit.  She also had a complete suit that had been through a crash at over 30mph-it was amazing to see how much protection it must've been for the driver; it had hardly any damage!

Then there was Sarah from Hide Bound Ltd, who was creating some of the most amazing tankards that I have ever seen!  Giving the appearance of carved wood, Sarah carves her designs into the leather, then uses tools to hammer in the effect giving the appearance of depth and age.  The leather is then lined with Brewers Pitch, an oil derivative which makes the tankards ready for liquid.  The process and detail is so intricate, I could have watch Sarah hammer away at her design for hours.  Hidebound have made props for both Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean and each piece of Sarah's work looks like it has fallen straight out of history.

Finally, there was Frances Moffatt, who we were most excited to work with.  Frances is a fashion illustrator and you may remember that I took a one day course with her at the Bowes Museum about a year ago.  I was really excited to see her and work with her again; I love fashion illustration and couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

We started off by choosing a magazine and sketching out a figure onto paper.  From there we could begin to draw in more features and then we finished off by painting our sketches with Indian drawing ink.

Frances teaching Krissi about proportion

I remembered quite a lot from the first time I worked with Frances and it was so good to put those skills into practice again.  I wasn't brave enough to work with the Indian ink the first time around, but I really enjoyed it this time-sketching fashion is incredibly therapeutic!

With Frances and our finished sketches

There were some amazing speakers at Northern Sole too, Erika Bowes (stylist and photographer), Gemma Hanley (head of footwear design at Lulu Guinness) and Alexander Taylor (industrial designer and originator of Adidas Primeknit & Futurecraft).  I was at work on the morning of the festival, so unfortunately we missed the speakers but I hear they were amazing and drew in a great crowd.

We couldn't possibly leave the museum without visiting 'Shoes: Pleasure and Pain', as Krissi hadn't seen it.  You can read my review of it here; I've seen it four times now and absolutely love it, but I'm always excited to go with someone new to find out which is their favourite shoe.  

Krissi loved these amazing green Jimmy Choo's, but as always, we were totally in awe of the amazing Cinderella shoe.

After a coffee (and a large piece of Victoria sponge!) from Cafe Bowes, we were back on the road after an amazing and fun day at Northern Sole.  It was great to see something so fun and fresh at the museum and I enjoyed every minute of it; as always I can't wait for my next visit!

Krissi and I had an amazing day.  Thanks to everyone that made Northern Sole such a wonderful success and thanks also to Alison Nicholson for inviting me to come and review the event-I always have such a wonderful time at the museum, it's always such a pleasure!  Thanks to Frances for giving us her undivided attention at the workshop, we loved taking part! And thanks to Krissi for taking some amazing photographs!

Until next time,

Kay xxx

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