Mark Rea's horseshoe crabs
"This work is my tribute to an old friend and an ancient species," sculptor Mark Rea says of his horseshoe crabs. "I did a lot of my growing up exploring Nantucket harbor on very small sail craft. These old souls were at nearly every beach landing, moving like shadows just below me in the shallows."
"I have developed an annual cycle to my artwork, which keeps time to the migration schedule of these animals. In the early summer, just after they spawn, I walk the beaches of Cape Cod and collect the best ones I can find. Over the summer I make plaster molds over them.
"Through the fall and winter months when the humidity is lower is the best time to cast them. I use a special blend of clays that I have developed over the years. Each piece that comes out of its mold is then carefully trimmed and finished to reveal as much detail as possible. Starting in early spring I glaze and fire them.
"By the time they're completed, the plaster molds have been exhausted. This way each batch becomes a limited edition. My ceramic crabs migrate back to the coast to the galleries, and once again it's time for me to walk the beaches to find more shells."
Don't forget the tails! When you get your crab home, connect the tail to the body of the crab with the attached copper wire.
They say if you put a horseshoe crab on your wall, you have an instant beach house.
You can see Mark's horseshoe crabs in Wellfleet, or online.