Tag Archives: Lauren Dunston

Lately

I haven’t posted many posts about the random stuff going on in my life lately.  I usually save Mondays for those types of posts, as they are usually iPhone pictures from the weekend… but I’ve been completely slacking in that department.  So, I thought I would throw some together to update y’all on the random stuff that’s been going on.  Warning: if you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen all of this.  Or at least, a lot of it.

As suspected, we cannot get enough of little Miss June.  I mean, can you?

June the French Brittany | Oysters & Pearls Sleepy June, French Brittany Pup | Oysters & Pearls Wallace June: Best Friends | Oysters & Pearls

I just die.  Wallace is such a great big brother.  He is constantly playing with her, tolerating her, and giving her kisses.  Harold is still mostly ignoring his new sibling.

I will spare all of you the selfies I took of my swollen-shut eye.  Our very aggressive hive of bees kind of got really mad at us a couple weekends ago, and I ended up getting stung approximately five times on my left eye… not to mention the plethora of stings I got in my hair, on the rest of my face, and the rest of my body.  I ended up breaking out in some serious hives, but nothing emergency-inducing.  No pain, no gain, I suppose.  We are going to re-queen that hive and see if a nicer queen makes nicer bees.  The good news is, they make lots of honey.  And uncapped honey held up in the sun reminds me of my other favorite hobby: stained glass.

Honey Bees and Honey | Oysters & PearlsWe went to a wedding this past Saturday (Congratulations Logan and Clay!) and the neat lodge they had it at outside of Thomasville (Owl & Moon in Dixie, Georgia) had the most beautiful stained glass panels in it.  I was obsessed.

Snowy Egret Stained Glass Panel | Oysters & Pearls

Speaking of stained glass, I made my mom this hummingbird fan-pull.  It turned out really well, and she really loved it.  We love our hummers!

Stained Glass Hummingbird Fan Pull by Oysters & Pearls

I also made this little hanging wall vase, and I’ve been enjoying these succulent flowers over my nightstand all week.

Stained Glass Wall Vase | Oysters & Pearls

My sweet friend Lauren Dunston of LGDunston sent me one of her practice gyotaku fish prints last week, and I can’t get over how awesome it is to have a gyotaku print that I watched her make.

Shrimp Gyotaku Print fron LGDunston | Oysters & Pearls

Speaking of awesome friends, check out this unreal tobacco slat skateboard that Marc of Southern Restoration Furniture made!

Marc Ventry's Southern Restoration Furniture Tobacco Slat Skateboard | Oysters & PearlsThey aren’t currently for sale yet, but you could always email Marc and say pretty, pretty please

And my friend Will of Heartwood Forge is making me a knife… with my initials in it.  I am already so excited and cannot wait to start using it in my kitchen!

Heartwood Forge Custom Utility Knife for Oysters & Pearls Heartwood Forge Custom Utility Knife with Stamped Initials | Oysters & Pearls

I’m constantly amazed at the skill and talent of so many of the people I’m fortunate enough to call my friends, so many of which are completely due to writing this little ole blog.  I’m grateful every day!

We took June and Harold home to my parents to have supper with my dad last Sunday while my mom was at the beach.  June went for her first swim in the pond behind my parents’ house.  She loved it!

Bristol Pond | Oysters & Pearls June the French Brittany's First Swim | Oysters & Pearls June the French Brittany's First Swim | Oysters & Pearls

And for your ultimate viewing pleasure:

All kinds of things are always blooming in my parents’ yard.  This is a native plum azalea that I noticed blooming.  My dad said it was the first time it had!

Native Plum Azalea Bloom | Oysters & Pearls

 His night blooming cereus was about to bloom, too, but unfortunately we didn’t spend the night to watch the evening show.

Night Blooming Cereus Bloom | Oysters & Pearls

I can’t wait for ours to bloom so Wheat can see it!

A few evenings ago, Wallace brought us a juvenile banded water snake, which was 1) weird because we don’t exactly live in a swamp, and 2) they are really aggressive normally, so it was odd that he didn’t try to bite Wallace!  Don’t worry, their bites are supposed to hurt, but they are not venomous.  They’re often killed because of their resemblance to a Cotton Mouth, though.

Juvenile Banded Water Snake | Oysters & Pearls

Catch and release in heels before work. ;)

Speaking of work, Maiden South’s location is coming along.  Or at least it’s a bit cleaner and prettier!  Exposed brick makes us swoon.

Maiden South Renovation | Oysters & Pearls

 I stopped by a sweet gal’s house after work Wednesday to meet her chickens and learn a bit about them.  We chatted birds and bees and swapped pumpkin for eggs.

Chickens in Bainbridge | Oysters & PearlsDon’t you fret.  I’ve got coop plans in the works!  I’m sure you’re all shocked.
Any recommendations, tips, coop plans, etc. for me?

And to end on a flowery note, sweet Wheat sent me a beautiful orchid this week at work.  It is gorgeous!

Orchid from Singletary's in Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Happy weekend, y’all!

Shop this post:
custom forged knife: Heartwood Forge Knives
gulf shrimp print: LGDunston Gyotaku
tobacco slat skateboard: Southern Restoration Furniture
native plum azalea: Native Nurseries

orchid: Singletary’s Flowers

 You may also enjoy:
Southern Makers: Heartwood Forge Knives

Southern Makers: LGDunston Gyotaku
Southern Makers: Southern Restoration Furniture
Meet June

Meet Wallace
Maiden South

Until Next Time

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!

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Until Next Time