The inspiration for my design to go above the children’s bookshelves in Kingswood Library came from finding out about the rich history of boot making in the area-
‘Around 1911 the 50 or so Kingswood factories employed over 11,000 workers, making it the third largest centre for boot making in Britain’
Kingswood Heritage Museum
To develop the design, I ran workshops at the library with primary school aged children, and then worked with two groups of students from years 8 and 9 at King’s Oak Academy. After having the opportunity to handle one of the fabulous hobnail boots from the Kingswood Museum, the children chose their favourite story/picture book character. They then designed a shoe for their character that would suit their style, and help them out in their adventures. I later recreated some of these designs in a range of media and incorporated them into the scheme.
The story book shoes were combined with photographs of boots and shoes, archive images of workers, all from the collection at the Kingswood Heritage Museum, to create the final mural. I tried to incorporate visual jokes into the design – for example, the boots for Bramble, a mouse (number 7) and Esteban The Magnificent, a green crayon (number 16) the two smallest book characters included, are sitting on Dinkie shoe boxes, whilst the wellington booted dinosaur proudly proclaims he is a Dryfoot.
All the shoes are sitting on shoe boxes printed with the logos of old Kingswood shoe companies (found in the archives of the Kingswood Heritage Museum). How many can you recognise?
With grateful thanks for all their help to the staff and volunteers at Kingswood library, King’s Oak Academy and Kingswood Heritage Museum