Young artists out on the tiles

Budding young artists at a local school were inspired by Kilmarnock’s historic townscape to create new artworks celebrating the area’s rich heritage.

Grange Academy first year pupils wanted to produce ceramic relief tiles in the style of famous Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser – but wanted their designs to feature the stunning architecture of their own town’s buildings.

Local historian and physics teacher Graham Boyd helped the youngsters and art teacher Nicola Wallace to explore some of Kilmarnock’s interesting and unusual architecture from historic and industrial eras.

First stop for the heritage explorers was Barclay House, where Marie Macklin of the KLIN Group gave pupils a fascinating insight into the history of the former Andrew Barclay Caledonia Works and The Drake locomotive which was built there to aid the war effort.

The class braved a freezing wind to sketch aspects of the building’s exterior, with its unusual angles and designs. They then explored and sketched the railway station and John Finnie Street area, where the facades feature stone carvings such as the ‘green man’ and ‘the lady’.

Pupil Greg Whiteside said: “I enjoyed seeing the old buildings – I just did not realise Kilmarnock had so much history and interesting architecture. I look forward to seeing the improvements”.

Graham Boyd said: “Pupils could see first-hand the real regeneration of Kilmarnock.

“Several commented on the number of buildings on John Finnie Street and surrounding area that are presently under scaffolding. They were impressed to learn that even more work is due to follow”.

Class teacher Nicola Wallace said: “The pupils enjoyed the Kilmarnock Trail experience, asking questions and gathering information by drawing detailed views of many important buildings around the town. This definitely benefited the young people’s knowledge and understanding of the history of Kilmarnock”.

Councillor Iain Linton, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: “Getting out of the classroom and exploring the town with expert guidance is the best way to learn about our rich cultural heritage.

“The regeneration of Kilmarnock is a major theme – and it’s important in terms of the Curriculum for Excellence to provide opportunities for pupils to work with the community”.