From Sea to Shining Seahorses




Sea creatures get their moment in the sun in the hands of this Nottingham artisan. Matthew Smith was a very good commercial fisherman, but in the end, he decided that was very bad. After a world tour to study fishing techniques he made a sea change in his life. “Visiting a variety of countries and studying their approach to fishing was like time travel, seeing some more advanced than others. Finally, in Japan, the most advanced, I came to the realization there was no fair fight left and I began to start rooting for the fish. I realized I was hunting and killing what I truly loved.” A printmaker for the past 20 years, Smith’s images of sea life, great and small, are foremost a product of his hands “wrestling” with the process. As he says, “You can’t fake the honesty of something done by hand.” His latest pieces involve double printing with the same engraved copper plate. The first impression may be blue and the second red, but with the different viscosities of ink, a bit of magic happens. Suddenly the octopus is enlivened with rich swirls of color that a real octopus would feel comfortable wearing. If images of octopus and sea urchins don’t touch your heart, Smith is working on “cuter” creatures that are printed directly on organic cotton T-shirts for adults and onesies for babies. “When I see a child cherishing his hand-printed sea turtle, I know I have reached a new generation of collectors.” Smith’s work can be found at New Hampshire League of Craftsmen shops and at his own gallery, The Copper Canoe in Exeter.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. John Gilbert Winant: The Most Important NH Man You Never Knew
    You've heard of our famous former governor, but what do you really know about his illustrious...
  2. The Other Mountain Club
    The Randolph Mountain Club, with its low-key, bare-bones approach to outdoorsmanship, keeps...
  3. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the Taco Way
    Check out the Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge (aka the world's largest taco tour)
  4. Summer Guide for Adventure and Outdoors Lovers
    This summer we want you to get outside and choose your own adventure
  5. Big Kahunas Cafe & Grill
    Stop in for a taste of the islands, or try their catering service for a tropical feast at your...
  6. The NH State Library Celebrates 300 Years
    One of New Hampshire's many "firsts" marks a major milestone this year.
  7. Now Is the Perfect Time For Education and Career Advancement
    For many, the arrival of summer means sun, sand, surf and longer days — yet it can also mean...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags