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December 27, 2012

Fish swim on in gyotaku prints

Gyotaku artist Joseph Higgins of Salem recently held a two-day long workshop at Manchester-Essex Regional High School where he taught students, using real fish, how to make prints directly from the creatures.

Higgins, who is also a fisherman, said he caught some of the fish himself, and others he said he purchased at Market Basket supermarket.

There were nine stations set up around the art class taught by Tamera Burns, including skate, striper, red drum fish, tilapia, flounder and a few others.

The fish were carefully cleaned and prepared beforehand (including removal of their eyes) by Higgins and mounted in foam that was cut to fit their bodies. And the students used paint brushes to paint block printing ink colors onto the fish and then by hand carefully pressed paper down on to and into every nook and cranny and fin that they could, really working the paper with their hands into those crevices to capture the texture and shape of the specimen.

The program was funded by a Spaulding grant.

Allegra Boverman is the chief photographer and a staff writer for the Gloucester Daily Times. She can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3448 and at aboverman@gloucestertimes.com

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