Former teacher now owns art gallery, taxidermy shop on SPI

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Sandy Margret shoveled an 800-pound buoy out of the Island sand.

She found the rusty hunk of metal washed up on shore.

And she brought it back to her art gallery to paint her next big art project and show it off.

“It took three solid days of digging and we had a guy out there guarding it,” Sandy said.

Today, the buoy sits inside her art gallery for sale on the Island, waiting for a new home.

In 2010, Margret, 50, opened up Kingfisher Gallery and Taxidermy located at the Sea Ranch Marina on South Padre Island.

Most days she is preparing Gyotaku prints, an old Japanese technique that involves printing an image of a fish on linen or rice paper using the fish itself. It is an art form she mastered in college.

She attended taxidermy school years after she turned away extra business for years from people who wanted to display their fish.

Margret said she was a high school teacher before she opened the gallery. An urge to start her own business, to be her own boss and open up an art gallery on the Island, became her next art project.

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What is Gyotaku?

Gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓, from gyo “fish” + taku “rubbing”) is the traditional Japanese method of printing fish, a practice which dates back to the mid-1800s. This form of nature printing may have been used by fishermen to record their catches, but has also become an art form of its own.

In the earliest nature prints, inks or pigments were applied directly to the relief surface of leaves and/or other relatively flat natural subjects in order to capture images of their sizes, shapes, surface textures, and delicate vein or scale patterns. Typically both sides of a leaf were coated with ink and the leaf was then placed inside a folded sheet or between two sheets of paper.

When rubbed by hand or run through a printing press a mirror image was produced of the topside and underside of the same leaf. Often the prints were done in black ink and the flowers later painted or drawn in by the artist. In other cases a flattened, dried leaf or plant was coated once with black ink and then repeatedly printed in a printing press. The initial dark print was used as a work copy or proof print.

The subsequent prints, with fainter traces of ink, were hand colored to more closely resemble the appearance of the real subjects. This methodology is generally applicable to making a print from a fish. They also used wood and carved images into that.

As a form of art, Gyotaku is also practiced around the world.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia