Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fish prints--as in inking and printing the real fish!

© 1990 Deborah McLouth, Largemouth Bass, 9.5 x 22"
I remember when I first heard of Gyotaku and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Wikipedia says Gyotaku (Japanese, from gyo "fish" + taku "rubbing") is a traditional form of Japanese fish printing or rubbing, dating from the mid-19th century, a form of nature printing used by fishermen to record their catches. In order to make a gyotaku print, one places the subject (e.g. fish, crab, scallop shell) on a wooden bench and paints one side with sumi ink. Next a piece of paper or other material is laid over the ink-covered fish. Finally, one rubs the material until there is the image of the fish on it.

My friend Deborah McLouth of Rippling Waters Studio creates the most remarkable fish prints. She's set up a trial run for her booth display (she's about to participate as a vendor in Babes on the Bay, a fishing tournament in Rockport, TX) and I went to check it out last weekend and bought the beauty above. It came with a copy of January 1990's Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, where Deborah was featured in a 5-page article demonstrating her techniques. Deborah is a member of Nature Printing Society, and I bought their book last year and recommend it. If your a printmaking book junkie, you need to add The Art of Printing from Nature to your collection. I have blogged about Deborah before after a studio visit and it included more pics. You can read that post here.

Deborah has led hands-on fish printing before and kids really love it. If you're looking for a printmaking project for young and old alike, this will work. There are molds out there of fish and other underwater creatures. Here's a link to molds available from Dick Blick. 

1 comment:

Cathy Savage said...

I found out from Deborah that when working with kids and the molds, she sometimes uses tempera, but usually acrylic, all purpose craft paint. Ink would work as well.