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Fish Aye Trading

Fish Rubbing - Prints & Placemats

Fisherman’s Delight

Most people would be turned off by the mess on the deck of a fishing boat, but John Doherty found it inspiring. After noticing the graphic imprint left behind by a bluefish he caught, John started experimenting with the ancient art of Gyotaku, or fish rubbing. He paints the body of a saltwater fish with water-based paints, then places fabric on top and gently rubs it to make a print. He finishes the piece with a single Chinese character, which he selects depending on the personality of the fish, what time of day it was caught, and his mood when he reeled it in.

Centuries ago, people used painted fish rubbings to document different species. John’s prints document his Cape Cod catch, preserving details such as the patterns of fish scales. His prints also celebrate his love of the ocean and marine life. Liz Boksanski, a friend of John, told us about his artwork and we were hooked right away. We love the authenticity of his work and the fact that he sees the process through to the end: After painting, John washes, fillets, and eats each fish.

We’re featuring four prints, each one a different species (red snapper, striped bass, bluefish and bluefin tuna). We’re also offering a set of four placemats. They’re all a great catch.

— Ann
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • John

    I'm very pleased to have my artwork featured as a "Grommet" on the DG site. The placemats are truly 'NO FUSS'- just wipe off and you're good to go. The reproductions are high quality digital 16 weight Igen stock w/ backing.

    My name is John Doherty I'm a Fisherman Artist . I spend as much time as I can on the water mainly east of Chatham, Cape Cod and Nantucket Island fishing for dinner and my art projects.

    The method I use is an ever-changing art form. Each fish rubbing is unique. It's a wonderful way to stay close to the ocean and appreciate the beauty and variety of marine life. This style art form 'Gyotaku' is said to bring good luck to the FISHERMAN.

    Best - Capt John

  • alison Lewis
    alison Lewis
    7/6/2010 12:15 PM

    These are very cool and really awesome! I am sending this to my contact at Coastal Living Magazine!

  • John
    John – Special Guest
    7/6/2010 12:30 PM

    Thanks Alison. I love everything about that magazine!

  • Liz
    7/6/2010 12:34 PM

    Great video! So glad Fish Aye became a Grommet. I use the placemats for every meal....my boys love them! Beautiful, sturdy and so easy to wipe down with a sponge.

  • Chris
    7/6/2010 12:42 PM

    I have one of these prints hanging in the living room of my home, and everyone who comes in asks where i got it. The craftsmanship and detail involved is amazing. Makes my city condo feel like a beachside cottage!!!

  • Wendy
    Wendy – Grommet Team
    7/6/2010 1:07 PM

    It was so nice to meet John. His passion for fishing/the sea is genuine. This artwork is a tribute to his passion and makes quite an impression. I will always think of him as the Fish Whisperer.

  • joe
    7/6/2010 1:41 PM

    @John - great to see your work featured here. I met you at a marketplace in November 2009 and had a feeling at the time that your work would be a perfect "Grommet".

    @ Daily Grommet Fans - having seen John's work in person, I can attest to its beauty and originality. This is a wonderful product.

  • Martha
    7/6/2010 1:59 PM

    I have several of these prints in my house and people rave about them all the time. The placemats make great gifts too. I also love the original artwork!

  • John
    John – Special Guest
    7/6/2010 2:01 PM

    Wendy, the Fish whisperer ... good one :)

  • Tori
    Tori – Grommet Team
    7/6/2010 2:57 PM

    John, these prints are amazing. One of our twitter followers Stacey, just said "Thanks 4 hunting the best finds! Perfect for my hubby's bday!" She made a great point. Your artwork would make the most unique and thoughtful gifts for fisherman, collectors of art, or lovers of the ocean (like myself).


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  • Jeanne
    Jeanne – Grommet Team
    7/6/2010 3:41 PM

    I have to thank Liz again for helping us to find you John; she was so sure that your prints would make a wonderful Grommet and she is absolutely right. It was great to hear John's fish tales when he came in to shoot the video and I especially loved seeing the giant striped bass he brought in for the demo. I grabbed a few snapshots to show my kids and they were truly amazed - here's the close-up I got after John "painted" it:

    7/6/2010 4:00 PM

    These are great! Had a flashback to college in the 70's where in our advertising class we had to make a print of a real fish and use it in an ad. Great fun! (BTW, my ad had the fish prints and for copy I wrote: "Having fish for dinner? Invite Airwick)

  • robin
    7/6/2010 6:49 PM

    ... the moment of pulling off the canvas, to reveal the transfer is pure magic! I'll bet dinner was good too! thanks all for a great video.

  • marie
    7/6/2010 8:32 PM

    these are wonderful - our "fisherman" son would be so appreciative!

    thanks for another great find

  • Katie
    7/6/2010 9:11 PM

    Great video! We have prints in our home and have given them as gifts-coast to coast. Keep the lines wet and the spirit flowing!

  • John
    John – Special Guest
    7/7/2010 6:40 AM

    Thank You all. Combining the adventure of offshore fishing and a little creativity w/ a paint brush can make for some interesting and enjoyable work.

  • Emily
    7/7/2010 8:37 AM

    My kids and I love these fish prints! My son picked one for over our fireplace and it looks awesome!

  • Jeff
    7/8/2010 4:50 PM

    We have 2 of these paintings, not only are the prints amazing but the driftwood frames are beautiful as well!!

  • Beth
    7/8/2010 6:15 PM

    John~ Your passion for the sea and the art world are beautifully intertwined! I have a close friend,who lives for late summer days when the tuna are running in the bay.His birthday is in August,so I just received the bluefin tuna print for that special day! My daughter is a printmaker and my son is a musician,so I'm such a supporter of "the arts". Continued joy and good luck(Gyotaku!).Peace.

  • Jeanne
    Jeanne – Grommet Team
    7/8/2010 8:09 PM

    @Beth, I agree - John's art is so special and unique. It's been wonderful to hear from so many of his fans. John actually stopped by the other day with the print from his visit; and we sent him home with a new Grommet to test! We love watching our community grow this way.

  • Jesse - Daily Grommet Team
    Jesse - Daily Grommet Team
    7/13/2010 10:23 AM

    It was such a pleasure to meet John and film the creation of one of his pieces. Thanks for the kind comments on the video. John works from the heart and I tried to do him, the fish, and the process justice.

  • Kathryn
    8/10/2010 8:34 PM

    I think it would help if when I clicked on the different choices that a picture of what I picked would show up. It is hard to know which to choose.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    8/10/2010 11:05 PM

    @Kathryn - thank you for your feedback. Hopefully we can incorporate your suggestion into a future redesign!

  • Vinitha
    12/11/2010 3:41 PM

    I really love the Bluefin Tuna print and ordered it for an avid fisherman friend. I received it and the corner is dented badly. Can I return it and possibly suggest protective packing as the corners of the print are vulnerable to being dented even if it is in a bubble wrap envelope.

    Thank you and I love daily grommet. Everyone on my list is getting a grommet gift for this holiday season.


  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    12/12/2010 1:15 AM

    @Vinitha: I will put you in touch with our Customer Service team!

  • Elise
    8/29/2011 11:38 AM

    I received the two prints I ordered and they are beautiful, I love them. The only problem is that the stated size on the website is 18x24 but what I got is 12x18. I'll have to return the frames I bought and I will probably have to re-think where to hang them since the scale is different.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    8/29/2011 12:13 PM

    @Elise: Thanks for letting us know. Don't return your frames yet, let us look into this and we will get back to you directly.

  • KBL
    11/21/2011 10:25 AM

    Do you have any prints of the bluefish or perhaps a pompano, or grouper that face to the left? I have the red snapper print with the head of the fish to the right and I want to put another one of your prints on the same wall but have them facing each other...please let me know if it is possible to get the bluefish print facing the other direction...thank you

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/21/2011 12:40 PM

    @KBL: I am checking and will let you know directly what I find out!

  •  CJB
    9/10/2012 7:47 PM


  • John Doherty
    John Doherty
    9/14/2012 12:14 AM

    @ CJB: Dear CJB, First , I'm glad you like my designs and have bought many over the yrs. I'm sorry you have experienced a bubbling effect on some of the place mats. I can say over the six yr period we have been manufacturing these, it has not been an issue. My family, three young kids use these at most meals and I think I can remember it happening on one occasion. I would like to replace the one's you bought that bubbled up. Out of curiosity, do you know how long you have had the effected ones? Perhaps a weak seal ? We stand behind our product and will make it right.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    9/14/2012 12:16 AM

    @ CJB: Our Customer Support Team will be in touch to get new replacements shipped to you.

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