(For those of you who are wondering, octopodes is the most accurate, though not most common, plural of octopus.)
Back in September, I got invited to teach encaustic techniques to an organization I had never heard of before - the Nature Printing Society. It is a group of scientists, educators, artists, and other geeks and misfits who love making art prints from any sort of natural ephemera that will hold still long enough - plants, fish, and yes, even octopus.
and plants on light-sensitive etching plates; plates are then inked and printed
gyotaku, is pretty well known in the U.S. as a Japanese import: you ink up a dead fish and then gently press paper onto the inky fish surface to pick up an impression. Using octopus as a giant rubber stamp, however, is not as well known.
But I am deeply drawn to octopus. Octopodes. Octopusses. However you say it, I love their sensuous shape and suckerness. And to get a chance to print them? How could I resist? We started out with small ones, sold for food at local Asian markets. Thawed, cleaned, and dried, they are remarkably easy to position and print. They can also be re-frozen and then re-thawed and used again for printing. I admit, this is not for the squeamish.
Sharron Huffman, cleaned and gutted the octopus so that we could do giant octopus prints.
website. Now, if you're lucky enough to live in the Portland area, and want to do some hands-on octopus printing, she's having a workshop in her home studio in February! Oh yeah - you can bet I'll be there!
If you're interested, here's the info: Sharron Huffman will teach Beginning Octopus Printing February 12, 1:00–4:00 p.m. at her home studio in Milwaukie, Oregon. $65 plus $15 materials fee. Limited to 5 participants. Contact Sharron at email@example.com for more information and registration. I hope you'll join us!