“Chasing the Moon” by Martin Gates

"Chasing the Moon"

"Chasing the Moon" by Martin Gates

Martin Gates, our sculptor who resides in Micanopy Fl did this magnificent carving of Hawksbill Sea Turtles out of West Indian Mahogany. Both the tree the wood came from and the Sea Turtle are endangered. Martin was able to buy the wood from a fellow carver who was relocating from Florida and had purchsed the wood as salvage from a downed tree removed for highway expansion.

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E. imbricata bissa is found in the Indo-Pacific region.[2]

The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs.

Human fishing practices threaten E. imbricata populations with extinction. The World Conservation Union. classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered.[1] Hawksbill shells are the primary source of tortoise shell material, used for decorative purposes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them.[3  ]    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawksbill_sea_turtle

Swietenia mahagoni, commonly known as the West Indian Mahogany, is a species of Swietenia native to southern Florida, USA, The Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola.[1] It is the species from which the original mahogany wood was produced.[citation needed]

Swietenia Mahogany is listed as “Threatened” in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act.[2] Its blossom is the national flower of the Dominican Republic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swietenia_mahagoni

All that visit M Gallery SE here in Charelston caress Martin’s lage carving. The turtles emerge from the wood as if swimming on an undulating crest of benign ocean. The piece evokes all I love about the region: exotic woods, fantastic wild life, ocean swells. Gates has done a remarkable job of summoning it all to life in this impressive work. It and several others of Gates pieces can be seen at M Gallery of Fine Art SE 11 Broad Strret Charleston SC or of course on the web at

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About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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