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"Baby Fred's Blog"

Welcome to Baby Fred's Blog.  This Blog is mostly for a very special couple that are going to be Baby Fred's new parents, my cousin Becky and husband Jeff.  They were married in July of 2006, and they are great together!  Jeff first saw Fred (aka Octopus Garden) in Aug of 2005 and started hinting shortly there after that he wanted one.  So for a wedding present (a late one at that) Baby Fred is in the works.

I get asked by my friends and customers how I come up with my designs, how I get them so lifelike and how I get so much detail.  RESPECT, Research, Education, Studying, Practice, more Education, Curiosity, and great Teachers.  Plus an overall respect for nature and all of gods creatures.  So this blog will detail the process of turning plain glass into a gift of love.  The process can be used for any medium of course, and this is just my way it isn't the only way or even the right way but it works for me.

So for Becky and Jeff they will get to see how Fred is born, and hopefully love him even more once he comes to live with them.  (Read from the bottom up if this is your first visit.)

July 1, 2007 am

Will Baby Fred has a place to hide.  The bowl on the left is full of handmade Frit. 10 different colors of glass broken up into very small pieces.  The "rock" on the right is the plain piece from yesterday (below picture on left).  It has been rolled in the frit and a little enamel applied to add some "algae", you can see some of it on the left side in the middle. 

With today being Sunday there are some "Family" things to do!!  I know Jeff knows what that is!!!  Go Dale Jr. and  romp on that "attempting to cheat" # 24!!!!!!  (darn it, that 24 beat the 8, so sad!)
June 30, 2007


The studio is all clean and ready to start work.

So now there is a beginning, signs of life are slowing cooling in the kiln.

Of course you have to start with raw material before any creation can be born.

The puck on the left is Schott glass and was pulled into rods to use where perfectly clear glass is needed.  Like on an Anemone, so that you can see inside or on a tree worm so that the feathers look real.  All these things have been learned with lots of education and great teachers.  Ah two more points of Respect.  The piece to the right is Morretti, Soda Glass, and is for the reef base.   It is currently in the kiln and ramping down.  It has completely changed space and color with a little magic and a little Auntie Charlotte & Cousin Lee's help!  You will get to see it tomorrow.

On the right are the rods that will create Baby Fred. 

On the bottom are enamels that will be used in varies places on the reef and the different animals. 

The rods on the top left are all of the animals and plants.  Soon they will be all sorts of shapes and sizes and even different colors, as some of the rods  change colors when introduced to the flame.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is on tonight, hmm maybe another thing that caused me to love the sea.  What a great movie, hard to believe it is more then 50 years old.  Well have to go check the kiln and finish watching the more.  More surprises tomorrow.
June 24, 2007

Well Baby Fred has been identified.  From what I can find he is a Coconut Octopi also called a Viened Octopi.  His "formal" name is Octopus marginatus.  He lives in the Western Indio Pacific, and likes to hide in coconut shells (hence the name).  He likes to also curl up into a tight ball and walk on two legs.  This is a great way to escape danger.  See this link to watch a video, it is amazing.  Walking OctopiHis mantle (body) is 3" long and his legs are 8" to 9".  He eats shrimp, crabs and clams.  He has a vast ecosystem for a neighborhood, and so many friends to play with, he is one lucky little guy.

So know that we know who Baby Fred is, what friends from his neighborhood want to come to his party?   Being an octopi that likes the sandy bottoms of the ocean floor, and one that likes to hide in coconut shells, it makes a design in glass a little difficult.  So when would this little fellow be away from those not so artistic areas?  Ah, time to apply another element of the design philosophy.  Studying. The research told us who he was, studying him and his behavior allows you to define the details.  The answer to the question, when he is being chased or chasing dinner!  A diver could be chasing him into a reef where he could temporary hide among the coral.  As I stated below Octopi change colors to fit their surrounding, so at that point you would find friends to match his color.  The overall design would need to silently speak to his desire to escape his need to hide.  If he is chasing food or having captured it, adds two other design ideas. 

I have chosen to go with the escaping a diver design.  This means I am looking for animals and plant life that will blend and camouflage this scared little fellow.  A break in the rocks to climb into would be good or a cliff to hide under.  The list of friends that will help in this "Great Escape" are, I'll use the common names and not bore you with Latin:

Qty Animal/Plant Color
3 Anemones 1-Coral & Green 1- Purple & White & 1 - Red
1 Sponge Orange
1 Crinoid Orange & Green
1 Coral Yellow-Orange with red & white
1 Mushroom Coral Purple & White
1 Bubble Coral White
1 Acropara Coral Purple, White & Green
2 Sea Slugs 1 - Cream & Burgandy, 1 - Green & Orange
1 Starfish Black & White
1 Tree worm Red & Black
1 Sea Apple Red & Yellow
1 Tube Sponge Purple-Blue
1 Tube Worms Brown & Cream
1 Urchin Brown & Cream
1 Sea Squirts  Red, White, & Yellow
1 Mermaid Cup Algae Green & White
1 Algae Lite Green
1 Flat worm Black, Yellow & white
3 Shells 1 - Purple, 1- Pink, White & Black, 1- Sandy Earth tones

Well all of the invited guest make it to the party.  We will have to see.


June 17, 2007  Father's Day

Could there be a better day to start a blog then this, (well, maybe Mother's Day!)  Months ago, well maybe closer to a year ago, I asked Becky and Jeff to pick out an Octopus that they wanted Baby Fred to look like.  I searched the internet and found thousands and thousands of pictures (641,000 when I re-searched today), what did we do before the internet?!  That was the beginning.

Becky and Jeff chose this little guy.  These are two pictures of the same species.  Possible even the same one.  Octopi change colors to blend in with their surrounding, especially when scared or hunting.  They like the one with the darker colors, so that is what my aim is!

      Like I said I found these pictures on the internet, and my apologies to the photographer. because I can not seem to find the site again to be able to give him/her credit.  
So now I have a subject, but who is this little guy? How big is he? Where does he live?  Who are his friends?  What is does he order for dinner? So many questions to answer, which brings me to my first point of my design philosophy, Research!  To answer these questions I have collected a vast library of references.  Below is a list of my current collections.  This mass of book fills my cushion of the loveseat next to me as I type the list.  The stack is at least 2 feet square, that is a lot of research to do, so better get at it.

Reference Resources:

Books Title Sub-Title Author (s) Year  Publisher Pages Comments
  A Living Bay The Underwater World of Monterey Bay Lovell & Libby Lanstroth 2000 Monterey Bay Aquarium 287 Exquisite pictures and the most detailed information you will find on Monterey Bay.
* Underwater Eden 365 Days Jeffrey L. Rotman 2007 Harry N. Abrams, inc 365 Excellent Excellent Photography.  Easy reading too so a great one to peak kids interest.
* Rainbow under the Sea   Jeffrey L. Rotman 2007 White Star  224 The detail in this book is unsurpassed, a must have for anyone who loves the sea
  The Blue Plant Seas of Life  Andrew Byatt, Akastaur Fothercill & Martha Holmes 2001 DK Books 384 The series in print.  Lots and Lots on valuable information
  Saltwater Aquarium Complete Encyclopedia of the  Nick Darkin 2003 Firefly Books 400 Detailed descriptions and habitat information on saltwater animals and plants
Reef Secrets   Alf Jacob Nilsen & Svein A. Fossa 2002 TFH Publications 239 Another detail description and habitat book
Marine Aquarist The Conscientious Robert M. Fenner 2001 TFH Publications 430 My 3rd " description " book just as detailed as the first 2
  Ocean   National Geographic Nature Library 1999 National Geographic 60 A kids book, but sometimes they have the best pictures of the most interesting things in them.  
Coral Reefs Ecology, Threats & Conservation Charles Sheppard 2002 World Life Library 72 Good Coral pictures and great of kids to learn about reefs.
Reef Life   Andra & Antonella Ferrari 2002 Firefly Books 287 My 4th description book that has more creatures to meet
Corals A Complete Pet Owner's manual John Tullock 2000 Barrons 95 One of the few very detailed coral species books that I could find
Coral Reefs   ? 2001 Two-Can 48 Another kids book, that has some great reef photos
  Reef Coral Identification Florida Caribbean Bahamas Paul Humann & Ned Deloach 2003 New World Publications 278 The most detailed book on coral I have found to date, but it is only for a specific region
  The Coral Reef Underwater World Angelp Mojetta 2003 White Star  167 A great book on explaining how reefs are formed & how the ecosystem works
Shells Underwater World Giorgio Gabbi 2005 White Star  168 Very detailed on shell formation and the species that inhabit them
Shells Field Guide to North America Harold A. Rehder 2003 National Audubon Society 893 Complete and very detailed guide to North American Shells
* The World's Most Beautiful Shells Leonard Hill & Pete Carmichael 2004 World publications 239 My Shell Bible.  The beauties of the world are in this book and the photograph is yummy!
DVDs Title Sub-Title Source Year  Publisher # Disk Comments
* Plant Earth Prepare to see it as never before Discovery Channel 2007 BBC 5 The most amazing photography that I have every seen.  I highly recommend this collection for everyone
The Blue Planet Seas of Life Collector's Set BBC 2002 BBC 4 Wonderful series that opens your eyes to the sea
The Living Sea   IMAX ? Image Entertainment 2 A great journey and education DVD.  Makes me want to go to Fiji!
The Blue Realm Underwater Adventure The Blue Realm   Madacy Home Video 3 Educational Research DVDs, focusing on specific animal types
Deep Sea   IMAX 2006 Warner Bros 3 Educational, but better on the IMAX screen then on a laptop!
  The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey The complete series   2005 DVD Date Warner Bros 6 I grew up watching the original broadcast of these.  Might be where my love of he ocean started.
* Highly Highly Recommend            



Last updated:  Saturday March 01, 2008