Fish Printing 101

Yesterday I took a workshop in beginning direct fish printing with Don Jenson, who prints fish out in Oregon.

This was direct printing, where you put the ink right on the fish, then put the paper on top of it and rub the back of the paper.

There was a limited selection of subjects at first:

More fish were on the way, in some luggage that had been lost by an airline! We were pretty sure the baggage people would be eager to get that particular bag off their hands and back to us as quickly as they could

Don started off by talking about how he prints fish. He’ll get a phone call from a charter boat that’s bringing in a big salmon, meet the boat at the dock, clean and scale the fish, make a print, and bring the fish back still fresh enough to sell to the cannery.

The first fish he tried to demonstrate printing was a skate. It took three tries to get enough ink to stick to it to get a good print. I took several pictures of the process. If you want, I’ll post them, but for now let’s cut to the chase:

Here’s another fish, a sculpin (which is very thick and boxy The sculpin sort of looked like ugly pink gourds in that picture of the fish selection. They’re just as ugly in person. Flatter fish are much easier to deal with). First, propped up and with fins supported so it could be printed:

Now, viewed from the inked side. We brushed water-based block printing ink onto our fish with a foam brush.

These prints are from that fish, done by a woman from England who had come over specifically to learn fish printing.

One Response to “Fish Printing 101”

  1. Chris Says:

    I’m so jealous. I would just LOOOOOVE to take that class.