Andy from Siddal Drawing is an artist in Musselburgh. He and Astrid Jaekel were commissioned to create a memory lane mural for Rosemount Gardens, an assisted living complex in Bathgate. Andy wanted twenty stainless steel discs engraved with elements of the mural, designed to encourage dementia sufferers to stimulate memories in the garden. He wondered if I could help.
Creating memory lane
Andy and Astrid’s mural called ‘The Bathgate Beanstalk’ was for the Rosemount Gardens cafe wall. It’s huge! You can see it all here Rosemount Gardens Draft Flyer 20Nov. It’s colourful and beautiful, and tells stories of places, people and objects past and present based on conversations between Andy, Astrid and the residents.
Andy wanted the 50mm stainless steel discs to carry the mural ideas from the indoors to the garden. Perhaps graphic prompts on the outdoor seating would spark conversations between the residents and their visitors. Images of ice cream sundaes, people dancing, cinema tickets, and well known local buildings might trigger memories of first dances, school days, marriage and hobbies.
Will they stand up to the elements?
Stainless steel is great for outdoor use. I engrave it using Thermark metal marking paste that leaves a matt black enamel mark on the surface of the metal. It’s weather proof, chemical proof and is highly abrasion resistant. Perfect then for making durable but decorative pictures to screw onto garden seating.
Miniaturising the pictures
Andy and I faced two particular challenges with this project.
Firstly, I needed black and white artwork to engrave. All Andy’s artwork was in colour. He’d need to convert his artwork for the laser as it can’t engrave in colour.
Secondly, Andy and Astrid designed the artwork for a big wall mural, not small discs. They packed lots of detail into each picture to make it interesting. When artwork like this is miniaturised, a lot of the detail is lost. It helps if artwork is simplified to restore image definition.
Here’s an example. If you look at the dancing man in the mural and compare him with the man on the stainless steel disc, you’ll see that Andy removed lots of detail from his head and pinstriped trousers. He also beefed up the braces and belt to make them at least 1mm wide to make them stand out.
To be continued…
You can see more of Andy’s work here.