Etchings by Robert Bryden

I was approached by the Townscape Heritage Initiative in Ayr for South Ayrshire Council to do some artwork for their town centre regeneration project. Every year there’s a Doors Open Days event where local buildings that aren’t usually available to visit to the public open their doors so everyone can have a look and a lot of special events are put on and this year they wanted some of the empty shop windows to look a bit more interesting.

Robert Bryden was an Ayrshire based artist famous for his etchings of scenes and characters around Ayr amongst other things and my project was to copy some of his etchings onto the windows of one of the empty shops in the High Street. The windows were painted with a mix of cream paint and water and I then used plastic clay modelling tools (you know the kind that have different ends and edges) to draw freehand on the windows from mirrored print-outs of the original drawings. It took me about a day and four completely worn down tools to realise that splashing a bit of water on the dried paint helped a lot but after that it came along quite quickly.

I got a few visit from the butchers’ across the road who thought it was very fascinating and from the local newspaper as well. On Days Open Days (7-8 Sept 2013) the shop was finished and available to come and see from the outside. It’s still there and will be for a while yet (although they don’t know exactly for how long yet) so if you want to see it, you should go down the town centre of Ayr as soon as you can! It’s in the shop that used to be the Ayr Bed Centre (and from what I’ve heard “The Rangers Shop” and “Burton’s the Taylor’s” before that) next to Watt Brothers.

I’ve added some photos from my work in progress. Hover over them to see the descriptions, click to make them bigger.

The empty shop before I started my etchings. My tools and the copy I worked from. My first window. Close-up of the first window. A view from the inside of the shop. Robert Bryden himself. Coat of Arms from the centre panel of Old Malt Cross. Coat of Arms from the inside of the shop. The final big window, Old Wallace Tower. The doors. The finished shop.