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Crabby Lady

Crabby Lady, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury

Inspiration

I gathered many Lady Crab shells as a kid beach combing on Cape Cod. I always thought the shell was the remains of a seagull’s breakfast. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the Lady Crab sheds its shell (carapace) as it grows larger. That was a bit of retro-comfort to know they weren’t all breakfast.

My husband, Brian, teases me that this is another self-portrait. I admit I have my crabby moments . . . few and far between. I think all my sculptures are aspects of myself—all art is necessarily an expression of self.

Stone

The stone is translucent orange alabaster from Utah. This is a favorite stone of both sculptors and collectors. It is absolutely luminous! It is a great stone to carve as it is quite dependable, yet soft and easily cut. It makes a knock-out stone sculpture to see and touch.

The stone is known for its bright red-orange color, and also for its clay inclusions. When the inclusions are big chunks, they can be power-washed out and leave a wondrous free-form cavity.

The tiny “boulder” I carved also has tiny clay inclusions—too small to wash out, and so characteristic of this stone!

I added a small, stylized seashell form to the composition, carved from Sivec marble. This stone is almost entirely made from seashells, and smells faintly of the beach when carved.

Finishing

I sanded “Crabby Lady” to 2,000-grit with the intention of adding small spots as a surface texture. I sat for minutes with the rotary tool poised above the polished orange carapace debating whether to texture that gorgeous surface. Ultimately, I found the stone far too compelling to add the spots.

This is my first time carving translucent orange alabaster and I am wondering why I waited so long to try it.

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