Courses In Ancient Japanese Printing Being Offered On St Martin’s

toby gyotaku 1Islanders and visitors are getting the chance to produce art using local fish, to help fund the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

St Martin’s artist Toby Tobin-Dougan has been practising the Japanese art of Gyotaku, first developed by fishermen who wanted a memento of the fish they had to throw back for religious reasons.

Special inks are applied to the specimens and then they’re pressed onto textured paper.

Toby first learnt the technique when he was at art school, but started printing again last spring.

He’s already sold some of the images to a sushi restaurant owner in Brighton, who has sent a piece to another of his properties in Japan.

Toby’s planning to run courses in his garden on St Martin’s every day from 9th to 16th May, and says he’ll provide all the materials, including the fish!

Local catches, like grey mullet and John Dory work well, says Toby, because they have large scales which print well.

And he says he has “various things in the freezer” that he’d like to try.

There are other options too. Toby says the technique works well with any textured natural items, like scallop shells, seaweed and feathers. He’s even used plants like aeoniums and vine leaves from St Martin’s vineyard

And he’s also been experimenting with different materials, such as linen, silk and special copper-coated paper from Lebanon.

The course is designed for complete novices and Toby says you’ll be able to take home a unique souvenir of your trip.

The morning or afternoon tutorials cost £30 per person and, after the price of materials has been covered, all profits will go to Cornwall Air Ambulance.

You can get more details at