Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gyotaku T-shirts

I was cleaning out and poking around in my studio yesterday and came across this project: some Gyotaku t-shirts I did with Fiona's kindergarten class a few years ago. Gyotaku is a Japanese technique for making prints or rubbings from fish. Its a traditional craft and very beautiful. Usually its done by inking a fish or sea creature and then pressing or rubbing paper on top.

I adapted this method for the kindergartners as a class project. They needed shirts depicting red fish since they were doing a production of Swimmy. Swimmy (Knopf Children's Paperbacks) I started by experimenting a little and ended up using acrylic paint brushed onto a fish and then rubbing a shirt on top of the fish.

Turned out very well!  This is a trial run shirt, The shirt the kids did had just a single fish. Aren't the details of the fish great? Using acrylic paint was perfect. Easy to work with and clean up. After the print was completely dried on the shirt (24 hours), I heat set it with a dry iron. After that, the shirt was safe to wash in cold water with no running or fading.

I may have to do this again soon--it was a lot of fun!