Agua de Mayo

Yesterday night it rained—the first for the month of May. Agua de Mayo, as we call it here, traditionally marks the start of the monsoon season. They say bathing in the rain on Agua de Mayo brings good luck and cures skin diseases. I got rained on while waiting for the bus, does that count?

It's also prime jellyfish season. Around this time the water turns into a murky gray and these small jellyfish start to swarm the seaside. Colloquially we call them "dikya." You never know when a bit of floating mass is just some seaweed or jellyfish until the itching starts. Late summer is the worst time to swim in the sea. Even simply taking a dip is enough to set off a little skin irritation.

It doesn't seem like it, but the print above is actually of a jellyfish. It's not the actual print per se. This was the result of a happy accident, part of the process of preparing the zinc plate for the jellyfish print. After etching on the initial design we cleaned off the dried soft ground from the plate and using tongs, heated it with a candle. Hard ground was then applied to the surface of the design and after coating it evenly, we decided to use a couple of materials to add some texture to the jellyfish design. We used bit of gauze and some straw, placing it on top of the hard ground rather haphazardly. We did try to stick to the jellyfish imagery.

Afterwards we set the plate down on a piece of scrap paper (hence the stray blue ink) and ran it through the press. The idea was to remove excess hard ground to cut on the drying time. This is what happened.

"You know, you can consider this as art instead of just an edition" my teacher said. I was leery of the idea since he technically did half of the work and he of course can make art like no one's business. We should've used better paper, I thought, maybe then I'll consider it art instead of a stroke of luck.

Our teacher was rather impressed yet I, on the other hand, regard it as some sort of bastard child. I love how the  texture of the gauze adds depth to the piece and how the spots where the hard ground ran thin gave some color variation but since it wasn't entirely my creation, I cannot claim it as my own. It's a good piece, sure, but not mine. Such a trifling problem but it prevents me from fully appreciating the print.


  1. I'd love to have it on my wall.

    1. Agreed, this is fascinatingly beautiful, Mika. :)

    2. Hey, thanks Chris! How are you? :)


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