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A Summer Day: Bill Patton Garden

Brass rubbing in shaded grove is a cool activity that also helps raise funds for The Tudor Guild
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Deirdre and Iris Young rub some brass in Bill Patton Garden, escaping the sun while supporting The Tudor Guild. Amelia Zeve photo
 Posted: 2:00 AM July 21, 2012

Brass rubbing, a popular activity in the U.K., remains largely undiscovered in the U.S. Only a few towns host it, with Ashland joining the ranks. Brass rubbing corresponds with our Shakespearean theme and it's a perfect way to spend a few minutes or a few hours on a cooler day.

If you've ever taken a coin, a leaf or even the sole of a shoe and put it under paper and rubbed a crayon on it, then you've done a very watered-down version of brass rubbing.

The activity consists of taking a brass image, ranging from Shakespearean dudes in full armor to a bony dog, then placing a special type of colored paper on top, taking some lightweight, colored wax, and rubbing over it.

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A Summer Day is a series of photo-driven looks at Ashland outdoor activities. If you want to share your favorite place to go or thing to do, please email

The final image depends on how hard you work — you can have a roughly shaped lion with only a few hues or a full-on medieval battle scene that rivals the real deal.

Prices for brass rubbings range from $5 for a postcard-sized plaque, $10 for a medium one and $30 for one that's easily three feet tall. The activity benefits the nonprofit Tudor Guild and is run by volunteers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday now through Aug. 27.

Although, at first, sitting in the shade by the duck pond and coloring with crayons may seem childish, it's a fun activity that will delight all ages.

Amelia Covert Zeve is an Ashland-based writer who explores the outdoors and chronicles her adventures for publications. Contact her at

To get there: The Tudor Guild Brass Rubbing Center is in the Bill Patton Garden, behind the Elizabethan Theatre. It's the path that leads to the park. For more information, call 541-482-0940 or visit

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