Sea Sluggin’ it out

imageimageSo I’ve been obsessed with Sea Slugs, Hares, and various Nudibranches lately. They are beautiful creatures, and come in many varieties.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked a little about Sea Hares, and I mentioned the Sea Slug Forum. This is a really cool site, and I’ve been learning a lot from it. They are related to snails, but their shell has pretty much disappeared into a thin shell plate on the inside. I’ve snagged a few neato diagrams from the site to show how the Sea Hare folds over the shell “remnant”.

Essentially, a lot of them look like a little folded taco with antennae if you’ve been looking at them too long. I thought this might be a crazy project with a bit of leftover polymer clay. So, I had a bit of fun.

I got all my polymer clay stuff together, like my silicone mats, blades, texture tools, and even some antibacterial gel (gets the polymer clay color right off your hands and cleans everything up!).

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Next, I rolled out some wild, swirled clay I had leftover, and flattened it to about 1/4″ thick or less. I cut these into little squares with the corners cutoff.

Like I said before, they’re little tacos, so I’m going to make them that way by choosing a couple of squares with a nice pattern, and folding them into hollow tacos. We don’t want to put additional polymer clay inside, because that will take forever to bake all the way through, and you’ll probably burn the outside.

To give my Sea Hares a little cred, I used a ball point tool to create little undulations, making little parapodia. I added antennae (kind of creative license on that one), and added spots with other color polymer clay dots.

Finally, since I thought these would be fun as earrings, I poked a hole in the top of their foot….

I made made an even bigger version with some more scrap clay I had.

This was a mix of FIMO Soft and Sculpey Primo, so I baked these at 220 F for an hour, and that was probably a bit much.

I let these cool, and got out my paint pens to put some detail on the critters. I painted more dots, outlined them, added eyes, etc. Then I sealed each piece with sealant glaze in glossy. I used Sculpey’s Glaze.

When I was finished painting and sealing,  I needed to add jump rings and earring hooks to each of the little sea slugs using jewelry pliers.

Sea slug of my dreams…..image

Sea Hares may solve Florida’s Algae Problem.

Honestly, I went through grad school in Oceanography, and although I’ve seen plenty of sea slugs and nudibranches while diving, I’ve never had the pleasure of encountering a Sea Hare. At least, I don’t think so, since they resemble sea rays as they glide through the water. Now, every time I surf, I’m looking for them in the ocean like a digital Pokemon after reading this article:

Rare Sea Hare washes ashore in Cocoa Beach

Sea Slugs and Nudibranches are beautiful creatures, and they have and wonderful knack of being sweet little algae vaccums, of which we are in desperate need right now. Especially with the emergency in South Florida.

Sea Hare

Common Sea Hare

Through this article, I discovered the most wonderful, comprehensive site on sea slugs I’ve ever seen here:

Sea Slug Forum!

I have NO affiliation with this site, I’ve just become enamored with the beautiful pictures of these colorful, unusual creatures. Thank you for the depth of information, Bill Rudman- it is a truly incredible site!

I feel a fun crafty project coming on.

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Don’t make me ink!