Visitors to this year’s Hartlepool Waterfront Festival will be looking ship-shape thanks to two second year costume design students at The Northern School of Art.

In the past few weeks Emily Cairns and Molly Frankland have created 33 historically accurate maritime-themed hats that will feature in one of the interactive activities planned for the event on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July.

The hats will be worn by the hosts and participants in Wayfinder, an audio adventure around Hartlepool’s historic Jackson Dock that ends in its own voyage in a boat ride back across the water.

Armed with a magic compass, participants will take turns to navigate around the waterfront following its needle. On their way they will discover the voices and memories of those who have found their way in Hartlepool and those who have found their way to it.

People taking part will sport sailors’ hats which have been individually designed and constructed by Molly and Emily and embroidered with the names of ships from Hartlepool.

Emily explained that they decided to add this extra touch to the hats as part of their design: “We researched the names at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool so that each hat would have an accurate name of a ship that came from the town.”

The two students have also recreated flat hats that were traditionally worn by Hartlepool trawler men, which will be worn by the Wayfinder hosts.

To make sure the hats were completed Emily and Molly stayed on for a fortnight at the end of term beyond the end of their second-year course modules.

“We’ve really enjoyed it,” added Molly, who came to study costume design at The Northern School of Art from Hull because she wanted to learn traditional hat-making skills.

“I chose the course because of the millinery module and we’ve had a whale of time making these hats using the skills we have covered this year.”

Emily, who is originally from Newcastle, has the same ambition as Molly to go into millinery after she graduates.

“After making 33 hats we really think we should go into business,” she joked. “The project has been great as we’ve used the skills we learned as part of the millinery module, which are the skills we will need to work in hat-making when we graduate.”

Emily and Molly were part of a band of volunteers from The Northern School of Art to help with the Wayfinder project, which has been created by Output Arts following a commission as part of Hartlepool Waterfront Festival with Great Place Tees Valley.

Described as an audio adventure that ends in its own voyage with a boat ride back across the water, it features interviews with residents which were conducted by students from the School.

Wayfinder is part of the extensive programme of activities taking place as part of the weekend’s Waterfront Festival which is described as being Hartlepool’s modern maritime arts festival for the 21st century.  Full details of the extensive programme is available at www.hartlepoolwaterfrontfestival.com

Emily and Molly’s course, BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design, is one of a range of creative degree courses offered at the Hartlepool-based university-level campus of The Northern School of Art, the only specialist provider of creative courses in the North East.

The School, which has a rating of Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) meaning its students receive some of the highest quality teaching in the UK, has just been rated as the best university and college in the north east for student satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS). Almost 92% students were satisfied overall with their experience at the School, up from 90% in 2018.

Spaces for September are still available on the School’s range of creative courses for those who have still not made up their mind about where to study or who are passionate about pursing a creative career. To find out more visit www.northernart.ac.uk