What if lobsters or large shrimp had evolved into fast-swimming hunters instead of creatures adapted to a life mainly on the seabed. What would they look like?
This sculpture, made between Nov ’08 and Oct ’09, is fairly closely based on macruran decapods (creatures such as lobsters and shrimp) and their cousins the stomatopods (mantis shrimp). Only wood and tagua nut, without any dyes or stains, has been used to make it. I enjoyed revisiting my old studies in Zoology to work out how a realistic creature would look.
All the woods used were either found after they had already fallen or are recycled material that would otherwise have been thrown away or burnt. They include:
Cocobolo and Pau amarillo from the scrap pile at a West Country wood merchants,
Juniper from a hill in the Lake District,
Mahogany from the counter of an old Post Office in Bow, London. My friend Molly was born in the flat above,
Cherry from the waste pile at a guitar maker’s workshop in Devon, from Highgate Park in Birmingham and also from a garden in Warwickshire,
Purpleheart and ebony scrap given to me by a cabinetmaker in Devon,
Tagua nut, an ivory-like nut that is a renewable rainforest resource from Brazil or Ecuador,
Holly and boxwood from Devon, courtesy of a tree surgeon friend,
Rose gum offcut from a builder’s skip in New South Wales, Australia,
Beech from the foot of the Totes Gebirge (‘Dead mountains’) in the Austrian Alps,
Black poplar and walnut offcuts from a woodyard in Bristol,
Almond from near a village named San Pedro in Almeria, Spain.
I like to imagine this piece being a specimen in some strange Victorian naturalists’s study. The title means ‘Satie’s fast hunter’ in Latin. In 1913 the composer Erik Satie, who had a taste for the humorous and the surreal, wrote a piano piece about the desiccated embryo of a hunting crustacean.