Preserved Squid Sculptures
These sculptures are a product of a combination of my obsessions for cephalopods and collecting biological specimens. In 2004 and 2005, a strange phenomena occurred off the coast of California in which 100s and possibly 1000s of Humbold Squid ( Dosidicus gigas ) or the Jumbo "Red Devil" Squid washed up on the shores dead. It wasnt just mysterious that they died, but it was strange that they were in these waters to begin with. A small climb in ocean temperatures and lack of predators in the area probably are clues to this migration. Regardless of the cause, seeing the pictures on the news caused me to day dream of having one for myself.
I was able to receive a some specimens that I suspect to be the same species. A couple enthusiasts agree that these are Dosidicus gigas, but I have not had them postively identified by an expert. I do notice the large suckers have small razor modifications. The size of these specimens would make these juveniles, but they make for giant displays. If you include the feeder tentacles, they stretch past 2 feet easily. Once aquired, I discovered how challenging preserving them are. I didnt want to just throw it into a jar (Not that I had a 2 feet tall jar hanging around anyways) and let it slump into any uncontrolled posture, so I suspended them. The first specimen was destroyed just because I was still learning the best methods of preservation. Handling them even gently can damage the external tissues which would be very visible on the finished product. All specimens however have slight damage of some sort before I even get my hands on them.
To make a long story short, the process of fully preserving a specimen is very meticulous for you must work on the squid and control is postioning in a very confined space with it submerged in a preservation fluid. The specimen must be watched and controlled carefuly for the first couple days because after this, its position will not be modifiable. Stomach contents must be carefully removed prior to reduce excessive leaking into the flood. Gas build up in the squids body is also a concern that needs to be dealt with. The entire process takes 3 weeks to a month. Did I mention I work and live in a small apartment? My techniques have gotten more and more sophistacated as I go. I soon hope to make more and more intersting articulations as more become available to me.
After I finished the first squid, I felt it required a worthy display. With each squid I created a custom sized wood box odorned with details and trimming that created a vintage antique look. Ive always been attracted to this old "mad scientist" theme. The box is then stained a dark redish color with the inside painted flat black to contrast the squid. I then add a smaller box on the bottom, housing a small light fixture to uplight the squid. This had to be redesigned a couple times for I found the type of bulb and housing design heated the squid causing it to act like a lava lamp with small particles floating around. The final feature I added was a rotating clear disk that goes under the squid jar and above the light, allowing it to rotate the glass display from within the box 360 degrees.
The complete squid in case range from 26 to 29 inches tall. Width is around 11 inches with a depth of 8 inches. The weight is about 20 lbs with 1.5 to 2 gallons of liquid.
I have also decided to offer some for sale. If interested, please email me your inquiry and questions.