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Gyotaku: The Japanese Art of Printing with Fish

Studio Arts Workshop

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Code: 1K00RJ

By Sue Fierston

Delightful and detailed prints on paper can be made using real fish. Using direct printing and water-based printing inks, create realistic looking schools of fish or a single artistic print simply by inking a whole fish and pressing it to paper.

The result is a gyotaku, a term derived from the Japanese words for fish (gyo) and print (taku).

Before cameras, Japanese fishermen used this technique to document a big catch when they were out at sea: They applied sumi ink to a fish, pressed it to newspaper, and then rinsed the fish in the water so it could be eaten.

Spend a day discovering the wonderful shapes and patterns of fish and take home several 12-by-18-inch gyotaku featuring a variety of fish. Learn how to paint realistic fish eyes to bring your print to life, and cut masks to create realistic compositions.

All supplies are included for a fee of $25. Students should wear old clothes or bring an apron. And, if you are a fisherman and have a whole frozen fish in the freezer, thaw it out and bring it to the workshop.

Instructor: Sue Fierston

One 5-hour session

S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3041
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)