Giant red stiletto in Northampton market square is first step of shoe sculpture art exhibition
A new art exhibition took its first step in Northampton's Market Square today with the unveiling of a giant, red stiletto.
The enormous shoe sculpture marks just the first stride of a new art project kicked off by the borough council.
A total of 12 shoe sculptures will be trotted out across town over the next month, featuring unique designs created by Northamptonshire's homegrown artists.
It will create a trail of feature-size footwear that will celebrate the town's shoemaking history and could become an annual highlight across Northampton's high street.
The red stiletto on Market Square is the first shoe to be revealed, but a collection of Dr Martens, Chelsea Boots and stylish Brogues will step forward and join them over summer.
At a launch event for the exhibition - alongside the council's #CelebrateNorthampton summer line up - Councillor Anna King said: "We're so proud of what we've achieved this summer.
"Thank you to all the artists who will be decorating our shoes and I cannot wait to see them all."
Each of the 12 shoes has taken up to 100 hours to create to get them ready for artists to decorate them with their own finishing touches.
Sculpture artist Noel Blakeman was commissioned to create the stiletto in Market Square. He said: "It's been a massive challenge but I think it's brilliant that Northampton is actually celebrating its heritage.
"It's been a privilege to be involved in something promoting Northampton. I'm really excited to see what other designs will come out."
Other artists include Leanne Conroy, whose giant Dr Marten, sponsored by NeneScape, will be inspired by the wildlife and story of the River Nene.
Meanwhile Kardi Somerfield - famous for her Fridge Street magnets featuring Northampton's landmarks and shops - has been asked to imprint all 125 of her painted designs onto a massive Chelsea Boot.
Kardi said: "I think Northampton needs something that brings people into town and gives them a reason to explore, and I think the council has shown bravery in spending money to do this."
A trail map of where to find all 12 shoes will be available at the Guildhall when the exhibit is fully launched.