Printing from Nature
When printing from nature I combine the techniques of gyotaku, printing from plants, and collage. Gyotaku is the Japanese art and technique of fish (gyo) rubbing (taku). The technique was developed in the 1800's by Japanese fisherman and fishery scientists hoping to record the characteristics of their catch. I use salmon and other fish found in the Pacific Northwest. The kelp was gathered from beaches near Seattle. Various Japanese hand-made papers are used throughout the process.
During the process of printing the hands act as the printing press. After the fish is thoroughly cleaned, ink or paint is applied directly to the body of the fish. Paper is placed on the fish and the outer surface of the paper is gently rubbed by the fingers and hand. The result is a detailed impression of the fish. Some fish and plants can be used for more than one print, but each print is considered an original because no 2 impressions are ever identical.
Gyotaku and nature printing captures the nuance of the plan or fish - full of texture and color. Combing these techniques with collage allows me to create prints from lifelike layout to abstract designs.