From: Portsmouth.co.uk, February 27, 2009
A two-metre octopus may seem like an unlikely muse, but Blue Reef's Donatella has inspired a Hampshire artist's latest sculpture.
The giant Pacific octopus lives at the Portsmouth aquarium, and was visited several times by Winchester sculptor Alex Jones for research for his latest work.
He has carved a life-size representation of the sea creature from lime wood, which will be on proud display at a collector's New York apartment.
Alex said: 'It took about four months for me to sculpt and getting the chance to meet and touch Donatella was vital – I couldn't have done it without her
'By visiting her I got to see how complicated her skin texture is and the incredible way she moves.'
Blue Reef's Jenna MacFarlane said: 'It's a truly beautiful piece of art and we're all slightly in awe of Alex's extraordinary talent.
'He seemed to have a real empathy for Donatella and did say the opportunity to get up close and personal with her was a tremendous help for him.
'He's managed to capture the essence of the giant Pacific octopus and we hope the sculpture will be around for many, many years to come as a beautiful celebration of it.'