9 June 2011 Gyotaku

Pronounced ghee - o - tah - koo. Gyo referring to fish, taku referring to impressions. The art of Japanese fish printing. I am told that this art was developed in Japan over 100 years ago to record trophy fish catches. Pretty creative if you don't have a camera. Gyotaku is yet another skill I have picked up while in Antarctica. At least I think I was getting the hang of it. There were some fish who didn't survive the transport back to the station from our fishing trips. Instead of immediately disposing of them we froze them for an evening of fish printing. So, instead of serving scientific advancement these noble fish served the continuation of the Japanese and will live on in our designs. We used exclusively icefishes. Fish Printing at Palmer Station, AntarcticaEverything is set up and ready to go for the fish prints. Lisa and Kristin labeled each species of fish.

Lisa Crockett fish printing in AntarcticaLisa is giving us instructions on how to make fish prints on t-shirts.

Fish Printing at Palmer Station, AntarcticaThe crowd kept growing and everyone had a style of their own. Photo courtesy of Reinhart Piuk.

gunnari ready for printingThis C. gunnari is ready to enter into immortality on someone's shirt. Not all fish were so multi-colored. Like I said, everyone had their own vision.

We cleaned up the carpentry shop, covered the tools and thawed the fish. They were place upon foam padding and we were off. We made some homemade ice cream and had a paint party. I was very impressed with the creativity that abounded. There were some beautiful prints both on paper and on t-shirts. Or, in Devin's case, he printed on pillow cases. They came out great as you can see.

I should have taken more pictures of the final products but I did not. If I can find anyone that did, I'll post them up in future journals. It' pretty easy but it does take a little practice to make sure the wrinkles are out of the material and the paint is applied in the appropriate amounts - not too thick. And that you lift it off carefully. No re-dos on these. And I am happy to report - you can try at home!

Fish Printing at Palmer Station, AntarcticaKris shows off her new shirt. Tell me this doesn't inspire you to go out and create some art! Photo courtesy of Reinhart Piuk.

Devin Devor with his fish print at Palmer Station, AntarcticaDevin proudly displays his fish print pillow case. If you do plan to make them, be sure to place a thin cloth over the print after it drys and iron over it on low to medium heat before you wash them.

Lisa Crockett and Kristin O'Brien Fish Printing at Palmer Staion, AntarcticaKristin and Lisa are busy making fish prints. Thanks to both of them for organizing this exquisite Antarctic event. Photo courtesy of Reinhart Piuk.

Team Member

Paula Dell's picture

Journal Details

Location: Drake Passage, Southern Ocean
Coordinates:
Latitude: 58° 34' 48" S
Longitude: 62° 54' 0" W
Weather Summary: Cloudy, warming up
Temperature: 32

Biology of Antarctic Fishes Journals