Heather Hudson (left)

Heather Hudson (left)

Gyotaku an ancient Japanese method of fish recording

One of the more exciting crafts taking place at the Horsefly River Salmon Festival over the weekend was the introduction of Gyotaku, the ancient Japanese folk art of painted fish printing.

One of the more exciting crafts taking place at the Horsefly River Salmon Festival over the weekend was the introduction of Gyotaku, the ancient Japanese folk art of painted fish printing.

The first Gyotaku were created to preserve the true record and size of fish species caught by Japanese anglers as far back as 1862.

For the salmon festival organizers gave visitors an opportunity to try the record-keeping process which has become a unique art form today.

Dozens of children and adults participated, taking home beautiful prints to hang on their walls.

Some chose the traditional black paint. Some chose bright greens and reds, the colours the sockeye become as they become ready to spawn and die.

Others chose neon coloured paint that was also available.

Two large salmon were placed on the demonstration table for people to work with.

The process is fairly simply. Pick your colours and use a roller or brush to paint the fish, being careful to apply enough paint to cover eyes, fins and scales.

Then lay a large piece of paper over the fish being careful to centre it on the paper. Then carefully smooth the paper down all over the fish.

The hardest part was getting a good imprint from the head.

Then carefully pull the paper back up again. An amazingly delicate and artistic image of the fish is recovered.

The festival included crafts and information displays designed to raise awareness about the life cycle of the salmon and the importance of maintaining good salmon spawning habitat and management practices.

There was also some fun thrown in with a flat footing (jigging or clogging) dance workshop in the community hall Saturday afternoon followed by a square dance in the evening, and a vintage car show.

 

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