Today's Object of the Week is a fish named Bill, who has a moustache and is really a detective in disguise.

Bill is actually just one part of a fabulously fishy collection of objects.

Art and design students at The Northern School of Art's Middlesbrough campus have created a stunning display of fishy creatures that will light up this year's Wintertide Festival on Hartlepool’s Headland. 

Working to a live brief from Wintertide's creative producers BloomInArt, first and second year Extended Diploma in Art and Design students have constructed willow sculptures of fish, including a shoal of herring and a parade of sculptural fish and sea creatures, each one of which is unique. 

The 'Shoal of Herring' artworks are on show in Croft Gardens from Friday, November 24 until Sunday, November 26 and form part of an art trail around the historic streets of the Headland which celebrates this year’s Wintertide theme of Ignite.

Illuminating and animating public spaces, the Art Trail encourages residents and visitors to see the everyday in a different way. 

Bill is the creation of second year art and design student Sophie, from Guisborough, and her group, who created 'Red Herring' to appeal to adult visitors as a joke as well as for children.

The Northern Echo: Bill the fish

She said: "We called him Bill and gave him a moustache as he's a detective in disguise.

"We also designed it to be a sensory experience. We included bells that will ring in the Headland breeze, sequins which will sparkle, and different textures for visitors to touch." 

She added that she had learned a lot from the project being a live brief.

"It has helped with knowing what it will be like getting a job," she said.

"The display is in a large space so it's taught me how to scale up and, as it's outside, the need to consider durability and the materials. As it's a public event I also had to consider health and safety and apply professional standards." 

Among other designs is a stunning skeletal fish. Stella, from Thornaby, who is also a second year student, explained her group's thinking behind their creature.

The Northern Echo: This skeletal design is part of a series of Wintertide sculptures created by art and design students at the Middlesbrough campusThis skeletal design is part of a series of Wintertide sculptures created by art and design students at the Middlesbrough campus (Image: NORTHERN SCHOOL OF ART)

"We chose Remembrance Sunday so we've added poppies on to the ribs, to make it also appeal to not only a younger audience but an older audience," she said.

"We used wet tissue and wet strength to create it, we started with blue paint and then a metallic to make it look slimy. The eyelashes were my idea!" 

The Northern School of Art’s FE Art & Design Course Leader, Sara Drodge, said the project had provided a great opportunity for students to build on the skills they were learning as part of the course.

Previous objects:

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“They've worked so hard with lots of thought and dedication, we're so proud of them." she said.

The Northern Echo: A selection of sculptures which will be on display in HartlepoolA selection of sculptures which will be on display in Hartlepool (Image: NORTHERN SCHOOL OF ART)

"It's always a real pleasure to work with BloomInArt and working on such a vibrant project has provided students with lots of transferable skills for their future employment, apprenticeship and degree level studies." 

  • The Northern School of Art – A Shoal of Herring, can be seen from 5pm to 8pm on Friday, November 24, and from noon to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday November 25 and 26 at Croft Gardens, Hartlepool. For further information about Wintertide visit