The one that didn’t make the cut.


I work from home, meaning that my office is way too easily accessible by my family. They freely, often, waltz in for a chat or a peek at the next project. Most of the time it’s fine. Mostly…

Cool doesn’t have to be exact.

It is Tuesday afternoon, I’ve had a good day of work and I’m quite chuffed with my first decapod: the great, awesome looking, spider crab.

In a corner of my mind I’m bugging because, in seven years on the Isle of Man, I’ve never actually found one on our shores, but I dismiss the minor glitch because this hyas araneus has style and that’s what I’m after for my next print.

Visitor One. 

The front door slams and I know my daughter is back from school. Her first stop is always my office, and consistently she will walk in, say hello and ask “what are you doing?”.

“I’m drawing Rockpool creatures.” I tell her.

She leans over my desk, frowns at the hyas araneus, “What’s that, I’ve never seen that?”


It’s a giant spider crab I inform her, and they do live around our shores. She nods happily, satisfied with my answer and I get to brush her earlier comment aside; she’s small, small people are not fully loaded on knowledge, it’s alright.

Visitor two.

Twenty minutes later my partner comes in, he’s off to walk the dog, and he’s curious. He takes a glance at my first decapod and promptly informs me that he has never found one of those, pointing at it (and what is it exactly?), on our rocky shores.

(Glitch x2.)

I bring out the evidence: the books. Look, I show him, they all say you CAN find the hyas araneus on our shores. See? Read. You can.

He walks away unconvinced and I know from experience that the case isn’t closed.

Last words.

The final blow is dealt by my son, who walks in after coming home from high school. My son is the family expert  when it comes to nature’s creatures, especially marine life. 

I ask him what he thinks of my first decapod and bite my lips. His answer is diplomatic as always, “Oh, he’s very cool but —“ yep, here it comes, the killer, “I don’t think those spider crabs live in rock pools or on the shore you know.”

Experience trumps books.

And that was that, the great spider crab bit the dust.

Truthfully I am happier with my work now: the Decapoda poster is an honest reflection of the creatures my family has found around the shores of the Isle of Man. I can honestly say that if you give it a try, you too can find every single decapod depicted on our print. In fact, I challenge you, make a family afternoon of it, go find all 9 of them. Rock-pooling is awesome.

Hope isn’t dead.

And for fact’s sake, the hyas araneus can be found on shores, mostly when moulting or mating, and the day that we do find one I will issue a second Decapoda print which will include this cool giant. T.B.C…

Catherine x

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