Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gyotaku - Fish Printing - Part II

While I wasn't able to participate in the actual printing of the coho salmon, the process of applying inks etc. is the same. Here are some differences in the set up.

If the salmon has been gutted, then the body cavity should be packed with paper towel to return the body to the correct form. The gill cover needs to be super glued down (remember to let it dry completely before laying the fabric down!). Also, if the fish has not been gutted, the vent (anus) should be super glue sealed.

If you wish to have the fish's mouth open, then pack the inside with more paper.

The fish will need a cradle carved out of styrofoam. If the piece of styrofoam is large enough, you should carve out just enough for the body to sit in, but not the tail fin. If too small, then the styrofoam should be cut to surround the body of the fish, and taped down, holding the fish stable in place.

The fins (dorsal, pelvic, anal & adipose, if there) will need to be carefully cut from the body, laid onto a piece of mylar, and glued down, in the correct direction off of the fish, open in the way you'd like them to be printed. Once they're glued down, use another piece of mylar to trace the outline of each fin, and cut out the fin shape. This will act as a printing template so that when you print the fin, the ink doesn't go beyond the fin itself.

The tail (caudal fin) remains attached to the fish. You can spread it out & glue down with a water-soluble glue onto a piece of card, then angle the tail to get a nice shape. Obviously, the cradle for the fish has to be cut to accommodate the final overall shape you'd like your fish to sit in.

Once the fish has been set up in its cradle, you need to apply glue all over the body. In this case, Yamamoto-sensei utilized a water-soluble glue that would easily wash off once the print was finished. He gently applied the glue in long strokes along the length of the body.

Yamamoto-sensei suggested gently pressing down with both hands against the fabric, smoothing out along the body.

Yamamoto-sensei used a hair drier to speed up the drying process.

Yamamoto-sensei then applies a cut-out masking tape mask over the eye; it will not be printed, but later on carefully painted with a brush.

While awaiting for the glue to dry completely, it's a great time to make the tampo. Cotton is shaped into a smooth, rounded-top ball. Gently centre a square of fine silk over the ball, and grasp loosely to form the shape of the tampo.

Once you've got the tampo shaped, wrap an elastic band around the neck. It's very tricky to get the right softness to the tampo, with enough "give" at the neck. Very small tampo are made in a similar manner, but with a rounded toothpick inserted.

I don't have any final print pictures of the salmon, but generally, the ink is applied in the same manner, from light to dark. The body is printed first, then the ink heat fixed, and then the fins are printed and heat fixed. Finally, the eye is painted and heat fixed. Please see Yamamoto-sensei's gallery on his site for samples of his work. Yamamoto-sensei has posted photos from our workshop on his gyotaku website.

This was a great workshop, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this method of printmaking.

1 comment:

NatureGuided said...

I've been looking for more information on the indirect method that you covered in your Gyotaku posts... These are very helpful... Thanks... Rick