Patterns of the Grain

We’ve all done it, frottage, before your mind wanders off, I’m talking about art. Think back to grade school, everyone at some point took a quarter, placed it under a sheet of loose leaf and rubbed it with their pencil, frottage. Today I had a brief lunch with Charley Young an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes printmaking, drawing, installation and mixed media. I met Charley back in March when I began a seven week printmaking course through the School of Extended Studies of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. I found her to be an engaged, inspiring instructor, which made getting up at 5:30am to start my 6:15am commute, a long day at work, then class from 6:30-9:30pm then an hour long drive home less daunting.

Throughout the course Charley had filled us in on her various installation projects, upcoming residency in the North, graduate studies in Maine, and most importantly the time sensitive Macara Barnstead Building project, which needed to be completed before her travels began. I decided to volunteer my assistance for the project, which in the end was one of the most exciting art projects I’ve ever encountered. I spent time helping to print, or frottage, the back of the building on a warm spring afternoon on my way home from work, and made plans to arrive early Saturday morning for the installation of the fabric on the front of the building via manlift. In the end it took the better part of the day to install the fabric and print the front of the building, and just 20 minutes to dismantle. Someday I will figure out how to edit down the video I took of the fabric being lowered, for now you’ll have to make do with photographs of my day as a printmakers assistant.

I will share with you a documentary that was made regarding a collaboration between Charley Young and Sarah Haydon Roy called Carbon Copy. In it you will see basically what we did at the Macara Barnstead Building, but in this case, the finished fabric pieces were installed as part of Nocturne, Art at Night in Halifax. Keep an eye out for Carmen Zinck, the lead hand from the crew at Coastal Restoration and Masonry, he was also our man on the manlift for the Macara Barnstead Building. This man could not have been any more committed to the project, he was truly amazing.

My time with Charley today was brief due to circumstances beyond my control, but I do plan to follow her career, and hopefully help her with future projects.

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