The Art Of Sustainability

Living sustainably may sometimes seem to be all about making practical choices. Making conscious decisions about what we buy and who we purchase it from can become a rote exercise in pragmatism. Is this a local seafood vendor? Is this produce organic? Is my dish detergent nontoxic? Am I recycling everything I can? When we get bogged down in the logistical details, it can distract us from the reason we are living sustainably: namely, to preserve the beauty and bounty of this planet for future generations by lessening our own personal impact whenever possible. When green living starts to feel like more of a chore than a lifestyle choice, it’s important to find something that reminds you about the simple joy of sustainability. That’s why we’re crazy about the gyotaku fish prints created by Bradenton artist Linda Heath. Image Source: Gyotaku is a traditional method of Japanese fish printing dating back to the mid-1800s. Originally, it may have simply been used as a way for fishermen to record their catches, but over time it has evolved into a singular art form. It is an intense process: Heath, who was exposed to gyotaku during her travels throughout Asia, detailed the intricate steps in an interview with our friends at Edible Sarasota magazine earlier this year.   Image Source: For Heath, gyotaku is a holistic and complete experience. First, she catches her own fish right here in our local waters. Then she goes through the time-consuming and often physically-demanding act of photographing them, cleaning them, covering them with water-soluble sumi ink, and carefully rubbing their imprints onto fragile rice paper. Once her art is complete though, Heath is not done with the fish: next she cleans it up, seasons it, and serves it to her family and friends. Not one piece of the fish goes to waste: even the bones go into her crab traps. Image Source: Catching and eating your own fish and then ensuring that nothing goes to waste isn’t an unusual concept on its own. It’s actually a fine example of sustainability. But Heath elevates simple sustainability into something beautiful and permanent with her gyotaku prints. There’s something incredibly respectful about preserving and celebrating the image of a creature that once nourished us, and that’s what we find so inspiring and transformative about Heath’s work. Image Source: To learn more about this standout sustainable artist, you can visit her website. Heath is also one of the Summer Featured Artists right now at our down-the-street neighbors The Studio At Gulf And Pine, so be sure to check out her lovely and thought-provoking work in-person.