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Case Study: The Bowes Museum

 by emilyf on 15 Jan 2020 |
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The Bowes Centre / The Bowes Museum

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The Bowes Museum is a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of beautiful Teesdale. Built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell.
Whether it is paintings by Canaletto or Goya, porcelain produced at Sèvres, or marquetry attributed to André-Charles Boulle it can all be found at The Bowes Museum.


Why did you need a bespoke box made?

The Bowes Museum ran a crowdfunding campaign that rewarded supporters with a wooden hand turned bowl made from an important and historic tree originally planted by our founders in 1871.
 
The bowls are a result of a year-long project to generate a legacy from the Monkey Puzzle Tree planted by John and Joséphine Bowes in 1871. The tree was a favourite of John and Joséphine Bowes and is an important part of the Museum’s material heritage. 
John and Joséphine paid particular attention to selecting and transporting the tree, bringing it by railway from the respected nursery of Lane and Sons, Berkhamsted.
 
The bowls represent almost 150 years of Bowes history. It is rare that a Museum de-acquires its cultural property, but an organic asset of this size is simply too large to keep!  At the same time the tree was felt to be too important to discard entirely, so the bowls, made possible by the generosity of the 133 backers of the Crowdfunding appeal, will continue to honour its longevity and its relationship to the Museum’s Founders.
 
Coinciding with the death of the tree was the 125th Anniversary of the opening of the Museum, and the foundation of The Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design.  The Centre proposed the legacy project, to commission local and regional craftspeople to make 125 commemorative bowls, together with other crowdfunding rewards ranging from keyrings to bowls with a Sterling Silver medallion. 
The resulting bowls are full of character.  Each is individually handmade, and we hope provides many years of pleasure.

 

What design options did you consider?

We wanted the design to mirror the product, with work progressing on the castings and bowls, we turned our attention to the packaging. A green colour theme was chosen to represent the leaves of the Monkey Puzzle Tree for the bronze bowls, with the bronze medallion replicated on the box lid.
 

What design aspects were important for you?

We wanted a no-plastic look with a quality finish. It was really important for the packaging to have the same link to the product inside.
 
How important was it for you to have a bespoke design, and why?

It was very important. We wanted the product and packaging to match. It was extremely important to have the legacy project to commemorate the 125 year anniversary of the museum and the heritage of the monkey puzzle tree.
 
Are there any tips you would give to another company wanting bespoke options?

Allow time for your project and getting your design exactly how you would like it.
 
 

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