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Lyndeborough

Making an impression

Hancock Public Library

  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.
  • Aaron T. Brown of Lyndeborough will be showing his hand-pulled prints at the Hancock Library this month.

Aaron Brown of Lyndeborough is best known for his large-scale metal sculptures. However, most of his sculpture work is at a scale that is difficult to display, so when the Hancock Town Library expressed interest in displaying his work, it was decided that his printmaking, some of which has inspired his sculptures over the years, was the better way to go.

Brown was first introduced to printmaking at the age of 32, when he went to a woodworking school in Bennington, Vt. At that time, he was focused on his own woodworking, specializing in three-dimensional puzzles. It was while he was honing his woodworking skills, he was introduced to silkscreening, by his woodworking teacher’s wife. It was an art that he was immediately attracted to, he said in an interview in his Lyndeborough studio last week, but not one that came to be part of his repertoire until years later, when he took a printing class at the Sharon Arts Center.

Brown will be sharing some of his favorite prints, along with some new prints created from two freshly-cut plates at the Hancock Library on Friday. The artist’s reception for the exhibit, which is already on display, is from 6 to 8 p.m. at the library Friday night.

Brown cuts his plates for printing out of masonite with a table-mounted jig saw, creating shapes in the metal which he then coats with paint and places a broadsheet paper over to create a print. While he often returns to old favorite plates to recreate new prints with new colors, it’s not often that he cuts a new plate, he explained. Often, just experimenting with different colors on old plates is enough.

“When you add color, it washes a whole new life that wasn’t there before,” he explained.

Recently, however, he was met with a sudden burst of creativity, after he gave his own class on printmaking in January, and found new inspiration in the explorations of his students.

“They just went everywhere,” he said with a smile. “I thought it was a very freeing way to work.” His students were cutting patterns that seemed as though they might continue to expand outward, past the limitations of the plate, he said, creating shapes that Brown hadn’t ever really considered before. It made him want to try cutting his own plates again, something he hadn’t done in over a year. But it’s not easy adjusting your technique, he said, and the first four plates he cut, he wasn’t happy with. Then, he hit his stride, and created two new plates.

“It’s very satisfying for me to see these new shapes. I just got into the flow of it, and was creating these unusual shapes that took me by surprise,” he said. That’s not unusual for Brown’s process, really, he added, as he never starts to create a plate with a design in mind, rather letting the piece come together organically in the cutting process.

“When I’m making shapes, they come spontaneously,” he said.

That doesn’t necessarily result in plates that have no deeper meaning though, he noted. Sometimes, the shapes make coherent sense after the fact, creating an obvious picture. Other times, all it takes is a name to give the picture meaning — and it’s not always Brown that gives the name. Ten years ago, while struggling to rename one of his plates, his wife suggested that he consult their “dictionary oracle,” a large old-fashioned dictionary that always seems to open to the right word when you ask it a question. One wavy piece clearly became an underwater scene featuring a tentacled octopus after the dictionary named it “Squid.” A sharp, spiky plate transformed into a frilled lizard after the dictionary deemed the name to be “Tutara,” a type of lizard that lives on the coast of New Zealand.

Brown said he has yet to name his two new works. He may call on the dictionary, or not, he said, but either way, he will wait for the right name to give the pieces meaning.

Brown’s hand-pulled prints will be on display at the Daniels Room at the Hancock Town Library through March 27. The artist will have a reception in the Daniels Room on Friday from 6 to 8 pm to which the public is welcome.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscipt.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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