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Mr Lobsterman's Presentation at Bridgwater Arts Centre (19/11/2016)

For anyone who wishes to get to know more about lobster shell sculpting and lobsters in general, I will offer a wide range of lobstertainment, including the following:

Lobsters around the world

I will introduce the lobster species I already know, there will be numerous background stories especially about my adventures in Vietnam. Other than the usual things you expect from a powerpoint presentation, here you can have several kinds of crustacean shells in your own hands to take a closer look.

Lobsters in the kitchen

In this shorter section I will talk about the way how lobsters should be cooked in my opinion. No lobster would actually be cooked for now, but obviously I do plan to include lobster cooking in my later presentations if I will be able to do so.

The magic lobster claw

The claw of a lobster is pretty much unique even between crustaceans. After some basic info about lobster claws, I will draw them on a flip chart using both of my hands at a time plus being blindfolded to show how deeply I have the image of a lobster claw in my mind.

Live demonstration of lobster shell sculpting

I will use a camera and a projector to let everyone see what I will be doing with lobster shells. To make this approximately 15 minutes session more interactive, the first person finds out what I exactly will be going to make, gets a prize.

Saturday 19th November 2016, 12:30 to 13:20
Bridgwater Arts Centre, 11-13 Castle street
Entrance fee: £1


On the way to the perfect lobster dinner

Although most of the lobster shells I use are from suppliers, I do buy and eat live lobsters sometimes at least. It will take many more lobsters to find really the best way to cook them, but I am getting closer at least. Let me tell you my main concepts for lobster cooking:

1. The perfect lobster dinner must be ready within half an hour after killing it - to keep as much freshness as possible. The half an hour is really a maximum limit and it includes preparation, cooking and serving time.

2. The dish must consist of not only claw and tail meat but as much components as possible, including knockle meat, liver, blood and eggs.

3. No seasoning to highlight only lobster taste.

4. As I am making lobster shell sculptures, I want the shell to suffer as few damage as possible.

Right, so let's get started, I have a couple of photos for you to check.

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Everything is ready, most stuff on the right hand side are needed for the cones. But the star of the show is the lobster for sure.

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The cones while cooking. Note that I made 2 big ones roughly for the size and shape for the claw meat. I could have just replace them with naan breads - if I wanted to do a mish mush.

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Our little friend is gone, the tail meat is separated from the shell and covered by the liver - which turns to a green mash if cooked in water, so must people don't even know how delicious it can be if it's not ruined!

I cooked the tail and the liver for 10 minutes in the oven. I will try to grill it next time.

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Unlike the tail, claws are cooked in water. Claw ends must be out of water. I cooked it for 8-9 minutes, but because it was only the claws, even less should have been enough.

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I use little hooks to get the meat out of knockles.

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It's not necessery to crack the whole claw to get the meat out of it.

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The white stuff on the surface shows that I overcooked the claws a little bit. There is a very narrow pathway between overcooked and undercooked claws, and it heavily depends on the conditions as well.

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The claws are on the claw shaped cones with some butter between them.

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Everything is on the plate which has to be.

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Not everyone likes ginger beer, but I think this is the best choice for a lobster. I used no seasing, but I do prefer a drink with a strong taste. At least oysters are a popular choice for a lobster dish. And the glass on the right is... well, let it be my secret for now.

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Shell drying. Unfortunately, tail and body shells of a Cornish lobster don't keep their original colour. Maybe if it was a molted shell...

Thank you for reading through all this long post!


Exhibition at Bridgwater Library (August)

Bridgwater Library will host an exhibition of my sculptures through August 2016. The sculptures will be displayed at their foyer in triangle cases. You can take a look at my sculptures at any time within the library's normal opening hours, which is as follows:

Monday 9.30am to 5pm
Tuesday 9.30am to 5pm
Wednesday 9.30am to 5pm
Thursday 9.30am to 5pm
Friday 9.30am to 4pm
Saturday 9.30am to 2pm

Address:

The Library
Binford Place
Bridgwater
TA6 3LF


Making of the Tusken mask from crustacean shells

The Tusken mask was a relatively smaller project, though it did require many of my tricks I normally need for bigger sculptures. The making of the mask included the following steps:

1. Selecting materials

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Though most of the green shells have kept their original green colour (with black stripes), there were some tails which turned to tannish. For this project, I needed the tan ones. Other shells I used were two crab shells from a Cronish supplier and some small pieces of American shells (knockles and legs). The white shell on the middle is the mouth of a green lobster (yes, this is vertical). Note that I ended up using some more shells as well.

Other than crustacean shells, I needed some soper glue and wooden dowels as well.

2. Connecting the crab shells with wooden dowels

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This is going to be the base of the mask, none of the crab shells or the wooden dowels will be visible in the final artwork.

3. Finishing the frame and placing the eyes on the base

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4. Placing the 'face screwes' and the 'nose' on the frame

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5. Creating the triangle

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This was a bit challenging part as there was not a lot of surface to use for bonding.

6. Placing tail shells on the forehead

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This was the longest step as it required the highest number of pieces.

7. Continuing placing green shells

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For this step, I used the frame I had made to fix the tail shells on.

8. Placing tail shells on the lower crab shell

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9. Covering the triangle

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I replaced the green lobster mouth I originally used for the nose because I wasn't satisfied with it. Normally I have a high preference to crustacean shells over seashells, but for now, the seashell seemed to be a better choice. Also, I placed two split body shells and some few more tail shell to finish the part inside the triangle. And the mask is nearly done.

10. Creating a stand

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Now it can be exhibited together with the Lobster Trooper mask I made earlier. Hope you enjoyed this special post and don't forget to join lobsterism!


Green shells

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The delivery I received is from a Vietnamese lobster farm. I just call it green lobster, but it actually called ornate lobster. Spiny lobsters are not closely related to true lobsters, but there are quite a few similarities. These three boxes (and the lobster shells I already had) will keep me busy for a while...

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These are shells from juvenile lobsters. Looks cute, but I have no idea how I can use them. Even the big ones are very fragile compared to American shells...

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These are all molted lobster shells, and that's what makes it valuable for me. Unlike cooked shells from processing plants, molted shells keep their original colouration. Well, most of them at least.

Some shells turned to brown. I decided to make something out of them which requires brown or tan colour anyway. So I will make a Tusken mask - and write the next post about it.