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Fish #156 Black Goby Gobius niger ~ Christine Hurford
Bone china and graphite 22 x 37 cm
I chose the black goby, not because I knew what it looked like, but the first photos I looked at the fish seemed to look miserable and grumpy, hiding by rocks or stones at the bottom of shallow water, and not looking that black, rather a sandy colour with irregular patches on it. After drawing and making insects for a time, this morose goby would be a change. Other photos then showed the black goby swimming with fins up - in fact it seemed to have a lot of fins making it look enormous. I found out there are lots of species of goby, sixteen of which live in UK waters. They had names such as diminutive, leopard spotted, painted and two spotted. Also it was not large at all, 7 cm in length would be a maximum. At such a size they could be overlooked which must be an advantage.
The male sorts out a clean firm nesting place and then invites the female to inspect. If all goes well, the male turns a darker colour whilst guarding the eggs, perhaps that is another advantage. They eat small invertebrates and can live for at least four years.
After experimenting, I made a bone china rectangle and 'engraved' the black goby on it using swell paper and a special heat machine which raised my drawn lines. It was then printed onto the clay, high fired in a kiln and then graphite used to enhance the fish. This has a metallic sheen, so my goby looks dark. The ceramic plate is 22 cm by 33.8 cm and is made to lean against or on top of a stand.
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