Tag Archives: Carrabelle

Southern Maker: LGDunston – Gyotaku

GYOTAKU

Gyotaku is the Japanese art of fish printing.  Gyo in Japanese means “fish” and taku means “rubbing.”  Originally used by fisherman to record their catches using black ink, gyotaku has become an art form all its own.

Lauren of LGDunston Poses with her Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

LGDUNSTON

Lauren’s husband Tucker owns and runs Emerald Shoals Excursions, a professional in-shore charter fishing business out of Carrabelle, Florida.  Faced with a glut of caught fish, the two sought out ways to avoid wasting their precious bounty.  A family friend, Fred Fisher, also creates beautiful gyotaku fish prints and was Lauren’s first introduction to the art form.  Formally trained in art, printing, and book binding at Bradley University, Lauren was immediately intrigued and set about teaching herself the art of gyotaku.

Paints for a Shrimp Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

After a great deal of trial and error, and even some trials and tribulations, Lauren has gotten her technique down.  Her first “exhibit” was at Tamara’s Cafe in Apalachicola where she worked at the time.  Her boss allowed her to hang some of her prints for sale in the building.  After a tropical storm, though, she learned the hard way that she should place her prints on the interior walls, as tropical storm-force winds force rain through centuries-old brick walls.  She changed her backing and framing process to suit the Florida elements and took it in stride.  These days, Lauren is confident in her fish printing abilities and her ability to roll with the punches, too.  With a life (or two or three) dependent on the sea, that’s not just an admirable quality, it’s a necessary personality trait.

After the BP Oil Spill in 2010, things were difficult on the Gulf Coast.  Not an oil slick to be seen in Carrabelle, and nary a tourist, either.  The fishing industry (along with many others on our coast) withered, and Tucker and Lauren spent much of their time searching for oil for BP.  Thankfully, the fishing is still just fine and the people are beginning to realize it and return, which is good news for everyone here.

All the while, Lauren has been perfecting her gyotaku fish prints.  They’re a perfect ode to the ocean and its inhabitants, and you don’t have to be on the coast to enjoy them.

Gulf Shrimp, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

THE PRINTING PROCESS

Lauren was going to demonstrate the gyotaku process on a Flounder she caught, but due to the amount of time it would have taken, as well as the Flounder’s high level of eat-ability, Lauren demonstrated on a beautiful Gulf Shrimp instead.

THE PREP

Lauren washes each sea creature or fish with a mild dish soap.  After drying the creature as thoroughly as possible, she fills in spaces and gaps with cotton to absorb any remaining moisture.

Drying Off a Shrimp, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Lauren Dries Off A Shrimp for Printing, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Lauren Painstakingly Dries Each Fish That She Prints, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Once as dry as possible, Lauren begins to paint.  In what is the best use of a phone book I’ve ever seen, Lauren uses a palette knife to mix her paints with a slow-drying medium.  The slow-dry medium affords her double the precious time to work on each fish.

Best Use of a Phone Book Award Goes To LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

THE PAINT

After her fish is dry and her paint is mixed, Lauren begins the artistic part of the process and paints the creature.  This is where her artistic license, as well as bringing color and life and personality to each print, comes in.

Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls  Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Avoiding the eyes (she paints those directly on the canvas last), Lauren paints only one side of each fish.  When she encounters a critter with as many legs as a shrimp, she has to get creative. Hence, another use for a phone book cover.

Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls  Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Painting a Shrimp for a Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

THE PRINT 

Once painted, Lauren carefully places a square of cotton canvas over the painted creature, pressing firmly and carefully all around.  The slightest over-squeeze can create smudging or  “squishing” – i.e. water from some unknown crevice in the critter ruining her carefully applied paint.

Putting Canvas to Fish, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Once satisfied, Lauren slowly peels the canvas up to reveal her first print.

Print One of Gulf Shrimp, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

After some observation and a beer, which Lauren explains is a very important part of the process, she decides what she wants to do differently.  Lauren points out that this print had some unacceptable “squishage” around the body plate.

First Print of a Gulf Shrimp, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Lauren Examines Her First Shrimp Print, LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Using rubbing alcohol and more cotton, Lauren cleans the shrimp off for another round of painting and printing.

Cleaning Off Shrimp for Second Printing, LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Shrimp, Post Printing,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

ROUND TWO

More drying.  More cotton stuffed behind the body plate.  This time Lauren applies the paint much more lightly.

Painting a Shrimp for a Second Print,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Painting a Shrimp for a Print,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Painting a Gulf Shrimp for a Gyotaku Print,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Painting a Gulf Shrimp,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

The antennae are doing a curly thing they weren’t doing before, but she likes it.  She arranges the shrimp on the table and cleans him and the table up for the second print.

Painted Gulf Shrimp,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Prepping for a Print,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Cleaning Up Before Printing,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Painted Shrimp,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & PearlsHappy with the arrangement, Lauren lays the canvas down over the shrimp again for Print # 2.

 LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Fish Printing,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Taking a Peek,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Examining Her Work,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

I think it’s wonderful, but Lauren declares that it’s time for a beer and more thoughtful consideration on how she wants to proceed.  She cleans the shrimp off yet again and mulls over how she wants to go about her third round of printing.

Cleaning the Shrimp Off for the Next Printing,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

Comparing the First and Second Prints,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & PearlsWe all enjoy a beer, a few of this guy’s friends, and our freshly caught Trout for supper while Lauren thinks it over.  It’s dark now, and Lauren continues the printing process without us.  She says she does her best work at night after everyone else has gone to bed, anyway.

Fresh Shrimp and Heads, Fish, Grits, and Homegrown Veggies,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

THE FINISHED FISH PRINT

LGDunstion Gyotaku Shrimp Print for Oysters & Pearls Blog

I’m so grateful to have gotten to know Lauren and see her process firsthand. She is a self-taught, resourceful artist who is constantly refining her process and her work. Known for “playing with dead fish,” her work is so much more than that.
Thank you, Lauren for showing me how you do what you do, and for taking me along for the ride!

GET GYOTAKU

Buy an LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Print for yourself!

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Until Next Time

Tarpon Fishing with Emerald Shoals Excursions

THE PERSON

Tucker Strickland runs Emerald Shoals Excursions out of Carrabelle.  The son of a fly fishing guide, Tucker grew up on these waters.  Specializing in sight casting to Tarpon and Redfish, Tucker has been helping anglers from all over the world catch the big one for seven years now.   While primarily based out of Carrabelle, Tucker also follows the Redfish to Louisiana later on in the year.

Tucker, Fly Fishing Tarpon Guide, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

EMERALD SHOALS

 Wheat and I were lucky enough to count ourselves in those numbers a couple of weeks ago.  We arrived bright and early on the most beautiful morning.  It was perfect for in-shore fishing and sight casting: the water was like glass.  And if you’re thinking that “Carrabelle” and “Emerald Shoals” don’t quite match up, the pictures in this post should sufficiently disprove your theory.

Lanark Village, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

Lauren of LGDunston on their Family Dock in Lanark  | Oysters & Pearls

The View from Lanark Village | Oysters & Pearls

THE BAIT

Tucker first took us over to catch some bait.  That man throws a pretty cast net.  And can drive the boat with his foot at the same time.  It’s truly impressive.  He did ask his bride to drive a couple times, though. ;)

Tucker (Emerald Shoals Excursions) and Lauren (LGDunston Gyotaku) In Their Element | Oysters & Pearls Tucker of Emerald Shoals Throwing a Cast Net for Bait | Oysters & Pearls Tucker of Emerald Shoals Throwing a Cast Net for Bait | Oysters & Pearls Tucker of Emerald Shoals Throwing a Cast Net for Bait | Oysters & Pearls Tucker of Emerald Shoals Throwing a Cast Net for Bait | Oysters & Pearls

THE FISH

After we caught what Tucker deemed a sufficient amount of bait fish, we switched over to what we came for: fishing.  We started hooking Trout right off the bat.

  Lauren (LGDunston) Fishes with Husband Tucker (Emerald Shoals Excursions) | Oysters & Pearls Tucker (Emerald Shoals Excursions) with a Salt Water Trout | Oysters & Pearls Tucker (Emerald Shoals Excursions) with a Salt Water Trout | Oysters & Pearls Wheat with a Saltwater Trout he Caught on an Emerald Shoals Excursion | Oysters & Pearls

Then Tucker’s wife Lauren (of LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints – you’ll meet her more thoroughly in the next post) caught a Flounder that she thought she might demonstrate a gyotaku fish print with for us.  It didn’t end up working out, mainly because this Flounder looked like what my father, the good Doctor, likes to call “groceries.”

Lauren of LGDunston, Fishing with Husband Tucker of Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Flounder, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Flounder, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Tucker with a Flounder, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Next up: more big, beautiful trout.

Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

The family that fishes together, stays together.

Lauren of LGDunston, Poses with her Trout and her Husband, Owner of Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

 Afterwards we headed all the way around remote Dog Island to St. George Island.  Here, we sight casted to some Bluefish and Redfish, which was pretty awesome.  We caught a couple more good trout, too.

A fish straight out of the water is truly a thing of beauty, and something I’m grateful to say I get to see fairly often.  I know Tucker and Lauren consider themselves fortunate to get to do it daily.

This Trout Wheat caught is an excellent example.

Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Close-Up of Trout, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tucker and I both caught a couple really pretty Redfish here.  Now that is a fun fish to catch!  Not to mention beautiful.  The spots on their tails are all unique, and their pale pink undertones get after this fish-loving girl’s heart.

Sight-Casted Redfish, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Redfish Spot, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Redfish Face, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls Natalie of Oysters & Pearls, Posing with the Redfish She Caught, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

THE BIG ONE

Finally, Tucker took us over to the Tarpon Flats.  Not many people even know it, but there is world class Tarpon fishing here in the Panhandle.  And with a guide like Tucker, you are setting yourself up for the most exciting catch-of-the-day ever.

Tucker Fly Fishing for Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tucker is a pro, but as long as you can fly fish, he will guide you right down to when to throw your fly and where.  He can predict exactly where the fish will be, on which side of the boat, and will let you know when you’ve got your “shot” and where to put it.  He likens Tarpon fishing to deer hunting: you wait around in a spot you know they like to come, and then you’ve got one shot at them.  We didn’t have to wait too long before Tucker got a shot, and it was quite possibly the most fun I’ve had while fishing and not catching a fish ever.  He hooked a Tarpon on his fly in short order, and while the rest of us watched in awe, this 80-pound dinosaur jumped, rolled, and generally showed off.

Tarpon Jumping - Emerald Shoals Fishing Excursions  Oysters & Pearls.jpg Tucker Hooks a Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions  Oysters & Pearls.jpg Tucker Fighting a Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions  Oysters & Pearls.jpg

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Even if you don’t fly fish, (or even fish at all!) one trip like this makes you want to learn.  The thrill in the air is palpable. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

THE END

We called it a day after the Tarpon broke the tip of Tucker’s fly rod.  Even so, it was a fair catch, since Tucker got the leader to the tip of his fly rod before the breaking occurred.  He tried to get in the water with him, but the Tarpon went under the boat and that was that.  We headed in for some cocktails and a meal of freshly caught Trout, some fresh shrimp, grits, and homegrown veggies from Lauren’s garden.  (She claims to be best at catching vegetables, leaving most of the fishing to Tucker.)

View from Lanark Village, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Fresh Shrimp, Fish, Grits, and Homegrown Veggies,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Fresh Shrimp, Fish, Grits, and Homegrown Veggies,  LGDunstion Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls Who Knew Fried Shrimp Heads Were Such a Delicacy? LGDunston and Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

Remember these shrimp: You’ll be seeing them again tomorrow.

Thank you so much to Tucker and Lauren for an amazing day on the water!

 Tarpon, Emerald Shoals Excursions | Oysters & Pearls

GO FISH

Want a Tarpon fishing thrill of your own?

Book a trip with Tucker at Emerald Shoals Excursions

And tell him I sent ya! ;)

Follow Emerald Shoals on Instagram

Like Emerald Shoals on Facebook

Until Next Time

2014 Due South Makers Market

Happy Monday!

As I reminded y’all on Friday, Saturday was Due South in Thomasville, Georgia.

Thomasville Center for the Arts Due South Fest 2014

It was such an epic day I’m going to have to split it into two posts!  Today is Part 1: the Makers Market.  We were there to set up bright and early, and the Market opened around 11.  I was working the booth for the Refinery, and we had a great day!  I was also thrilled to have lots of good friends there selling their handmade wares, and was fortunate enough to make some really great new friends, too.  This isn’t a comprehensive list of vendors (you can find that here) but it is a collection of scenes from my favorites.

Scroll on through, wish you had come, and click on over to see what all these awesome folks are doing around our area.

The Refinery

The Refinery - Candles for a Cause | Oysters & Pearls

With This Light You Give Hope - The Refinery | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Candles - Hand Poured by the Women of Still Waters in Bainbridge, GA | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Candles at Due South in Thomasville | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery  | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Candles at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

New Refinery Scent - White Sands | Oysters & Pearls

With This Light I Offer Grace - The Refinery Candles | Oysters & Pearls

Southern Restoration Furniture by Marc Ventry

Southern Restoration Furniture Tobacco Slat Cutting Board and Picture Frame at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Southern Restoration Furniture Tobacco Slat Frame | Oysters & Pearls

Southern Restoration Furniture Tobacco Slat Cutting Boards | Oysters & Pearls

Nunya Beeswax Chapstick and Hand Balm | Oysters & Pearls

Southern Restoration Furniture Tobacco Slat Art | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Knives

Heartwood Forge - Hand Made Knives | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Handle Oil | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Knife at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge at Due South in Thomasville | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge at Due South 2014 | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Oyster Knife | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Knives at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Safety First at Heartwood Forge | Oysters & Pearls

Orchard Pond Organics

Orchard Pond Organics at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Orchard Pond Organics Strawberries | Oysters & Pearls

Orchard Pond Organics Veggies at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Blackberry Patch Handmade Syrups and Jams

Blackberry Patch Syrups at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Blackberry Patch Maple Syrup | Oysters & Pearls

Blackberry Patch Fruit Butters at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works at Due South Makers Market in Thomasville | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works Pannier/Backpack  | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works Waxed Canvas Tote | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works - Local Beeswax for Canvas | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works at Due South Makers Market | Oysters & Pearls

Knot + Bow Designs

Knot + Bow Designs Necklaces

Knot + Bow Designs Earrings | Oysters & Pearls

Knot + Bow Designs Bracelets at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

Knot + Bow Designs by Karli | Oysters & Pearls

Knot + Bow Designs Statement Necklaces  | Oysters & Pearls

Knot + Bow Statement Rings | Oysters & Pearls

Thomasville Townie Company Store

Thomasville Townie Company Store - Shotgun Shell Ornaments | Oysters & Pearls

Thomasville Townie Company Store - Hand Sewn Mounted Deer Wall Art | Oysters & Pearls

Thomasville Townie Company Store - Calligraphy Starter Kit | Oysters & Pearls

Let's Put a Bird On It Wood Wick Candle, Available at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

Hand Painted Beagle Wall Art, Available at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

Love Letters Kit, Available at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

Flour Sack Towels at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

Hand Made Fox Notebooks and Hand Stamped Thomasville, Georgia Necklace, Available at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

Thomasville, Georgia Hand Stamped Necklaces at the Thomasville Townie Company Store | Oysters & Pearls

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints | Oysters & Pearls

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints from Carrabelle, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints at Due South Makers Market | Oysters & Pearls

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints at Due South | Oysters & Pearls

LGDunston Gyotaku Fish Prints at the Makers Market | Oysters & Pearls

Luckily, the Makers Market was just outside the gates of Due South, so we got to enjoy the live music all day while people shopped with us.  It was such an awesome event, and I so appreciated the focus on high quality, hand made, locally made goods from around the region.  I loved getting to spend the day with my maker friends, and I’m so pleased to report that I made a few new ones.  Keep an eye out for them on O&P!

And doesn’t that necklace at the Thomasville Townie Company Store look familiar?  ;)  I made those especially for the Townie!

When the Makers Market shut down, we freshened up and rallied the troops for the main event… which I’ll cover tomorrow! ;)

Until Next Time