Anglesey Sea Bass Gyotaku Print using Sumi Ink
This bass was caught on a line by a local fisherman here in North Wales. It was caught on the Menai Stait.
Bass are my favourite fish to print the definition you get on the scales is wonderful. That is particularly true when using Sumi ink. Sumi, is the traditional ink used in Japan for calligraphy it is made from soot and a binder. It is used a lot by Gyotaku artists but I have always struggled with it so I was really pleased with this print and a couple of others I produced as I think I’ve finally got to grips with it.
Printing is just the first part of the process. After printing, the paper is cockled and wouldn’t lay flat in a frame. To achieve a flat print I use the traditional wet mounting process that has been used in the east for centuries. This process takes 24hours. The Japanese name for this process is Urauchi which I believe means gluing backing paper to artwork. That is pretty much what is done. A thin, home made glue of flour and water is applied to the back of the print and in this process you remove all air bubbles and wrinkles. Then a backing sheet is applied to the print and the two sheets are left to dry overnight. The result is a thinker, flat print that can now be framed.
When it is flattened, I sign the print and stamp it with my Hanko.