Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from Cephalopods everywhere!

Originally blogged at Archie McPhee's Endless Geyser of Awesome (which we at CTP are inclined to suggest is in fact an endless geyser of awesome) - we bring you some Holiday cheer in the form of everyone's favorite tentacled elder god!




They write:
"Faced with the realisation that we suddenly had room enough to put up our own Christmas tree, I was initially at a loss when considering how to decorate it. We have no ornaments and the idea of shopping for them made me drowsy. I can’t remember what first brought to mind the image of a tree covered in tentacles (perhaps it’s best not to ask), but as soon as I envisioned it I couldn’t let go of the idea.
Using an artificial tree, blue string lights, silver garland, one plush Cthulhu (who has been silently biding his time in my home for years), approximately 50 Cthulhu Tentacles, and a little heady chanting (no one wants to upset the Great Old Ones), “A very Lovecraft Christmas” became a reality. I’m rather pleased with the results. Let’s hope the Old Ones are too. I’m beginning to suspect that it writhes when I’m not looking.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn."

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


Photo and quoted content © Archi McPhee

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Suction Cup Anthology calling for submissions

Obsolescent Press sent us a note letting us know that they're collecting submissions for an Octopus themed short story anthology called Suction Cup Dreams: An Octopus Anthology!  We know that we've got some creative readers out there (at least if your haikus are anything to judge by).

Stories of any genre or style are desired, as long as they are somehow inspired by or involve our beloved octopodes. Reprints are permissible, and while there is no pay, all chosen authors do receive a contributor's copy of the printed book upon publication.  Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2012.


They have a market listing on Duotrope.

You can find out more about the guidelines and Obsolescent press on their webite: http://www.obsolescent.info


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Return of Tadly


Perhaps you remember last year when we introduced you to Tadly Waldorfington?

Well Cleo Dee has written to let us know that there are new improved Tadly plushes available for his fans in her Etsy Shop !

"To pursue his dreams, Tadly Waldorfington left the comfort of his Midwestern home for the convenient base campe of Middlebury, New Jersey. Although he does have the steady companionship of Abigail, he would love to have even more friends around the world to share in his expeditions and discoveries. Please bring Tadly into your home to hear of tales from far-away lands that no human would dare to reach."


And while you're there,  check out her assortment of holiday Squid for all your celebratory needs!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

All about plush

We had an email, a while ago asking for more plush octopi.  We're pleased to bring you a post full of plush!  There's plenty more lovable cephalopod softies mentioned here previously - just click the 'plush' tag to check out a whole school of them!


Leonardo a huggably soft plush dumbo octopus, designed by Lauren Venell.  His eyes and suckers glow in the dark folks (which I have to admit, it a little creepy if he's sitting on a shelf staring at you as you try to sleep at night, but he means no harm, I promise).  He should be available in stores near you, but if you can't find him you can find the blog post about him here, and ask all kind of prying questions about how to get your tentacles on one!


If sometimes less squishy is more your thing, this felted blue ring octopus is amazing, and much less poisonous then its living namesake.  Check out the listing and look at the tiny rows of felted suckers on each tentacle!  And he's not the only cephalopod in FamiliarOddlings shop either.


And finally, if you prefer to wear your tentacles out on the town, this hat is definitely a stylish way to do it.  This hat is offered as a customizable design, created by Megan Bishop.  So not only can you wear your tentacles, you can color match them too!

Friday, June 10, 2011


WinonaCookie - long time friend of Cephalopods everywhere, has created another whimsical piece of art featuring tentacled sea creatures. As with all her work, its accompanied by a story all its own and describes the habits of the illusive land octopi:

Land Octopi (Cephalopod terranius) who, in the wild, mainly forage among shrubbery for grubs and dropped toffee but on occasion have been known to slither up a tree to help themselves to a plump Airfish or two.

You can read the whole story on her Etsy listing, and enjoy lots of other cephalopod stories in her shop.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And it glows in the dark!


After a history of showing our dear readers glass sculptures that are well outside the average budget, here is something you can actually afford for a change. And also...it glows in the dark.
EmergentGlassworks on Etsy has a shop full of cephalopod glass works, but well - this one glows in the dark! Which makes it better.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Complete with Tiny Glass Suction Cups Part II

This 8 inch critter is Torch-worked borosilicate glass made by Matt Entenmann in Oregon. You can see more of his work at threyda.com or purchase one of your own (if you have he budget that is).

Don't remember Tiny Glass Suction Cups Part 1? We don't blame you, it was back in 2009!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vintage dictionary art print


Because I'm a writing nerd, I felt this little find was particularly interesting.

From Little Blue Bird Studios, A beautiful vintage book page has been given new life and is now a gorgeous and unique piece of art. This print features a vintage octopus illustration that has been printed directly onto the page allowing the words of the page to merge through the illustration. Lovely and green-friendly art, good for cephalopod enthusiasts and language buffs alike.

You can find more about the prints here.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Argonaut, or Paper Nautilus

A few weeks ago, I went to the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, Nova Scotia, not too far from the rural area in which I live, to see the much-hyped (and also quite excellent) display of the giant T. rex, Sue, on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago. After thoroughly exploring dinosaurs, I set off to tour around the rest of the rather small museum.

Despite its small size, the museum has a lovely collection of Victorian glass specimen jars (and others of more recent vintage) filled with wonderful sea things--though they have other collections, it's the sea that occupies most of it, since Halifax is a coastal city. And among those jars and mounted skeletons of assorted whales, I found the prettiest delicate shell (I wanted to write "little shell", but it's not really so small).


It was, according to the interpretive panel, the shell of an argonaut, Argonauta argo. Here's the entire text of the panel (which, as you can see, doesn't say a whole lot):

Argonauta
Argonauta argo
This is a cephalopod, like the squid and octopus, but rare. Female Argonauts make the beautiful, paper-thin shell to hold their eggs. About 80 years ago, Museum Curator Harry Piers collected live ones in Yarmouth Harbour--an amazing find for these tropical creatures. Only a few empty shells have turned up since.

There's also a map showing the argonaut's range and the location of Nova Scotia (apologies for the photograph--I should know better than to go to a museum armed only with my iPhone camera).


Discovering this made me want to do two things: head south to Yarmouth to scour the beaches for argonaut shells (I'm located smack in the middle of NS, but a day trip to Yarmouth isn't out of the question in the summer), and do some research to find out more about this lovely cephalopod.

As it turns out, the argonaut isn't just "like" the octopus, it is an octopus. It's a small, pelagic (that is, open-ocean-dwelling) octopus that, unlike any other octopus families, secretes an eggcase. The largest male argonauts are only about 2 cm (that's not quite an inch) in size, while females can be up to 10 cm (about 4 inches). Eggcases--which are not true shells like that of the nautilus (which was named after the argonaut due to the similarity of their shells)--can be up to 30 cm (almost 12 inches) and are made of calcite. Though the primary function of the argonaut "shell" is to hold eggs, the female remains with it, and will shelter inside inside it.

There are 7 to 11 living species of argonaut (the species status of some is disputed), and a number of extinct species. Unlike most octopuses, which live on the sea floor, argonauts are near-surface-dwelling creatures. And, also unlike many other octopus species, argonaut females can have offspring many times over their lives.

Argonauts (the egg-case-secreting females, anyway) have been known since the 19th century, when they were believed to use their shells like boats and their arms like sails. They make an appearance in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and some editions have a illustration of the little octopuses surrounding the Nautilus, arms raised as they sail by.

The Argonauta argo shell I saw at the museum is a representative of the largest species of argonaut. Apparently these are the shells that can be almost a foot long. The one I saw was perhaps 4 inches at its largest dimension. It's simple and elegant (other species secrete more elaborate shells), and even though argonauts don't really sail with their arms, the image of little octopuses bobbling near the surface in their pretty little boats fills me with glee. I will certainly be looking out for more information, and don't be surprised if they turn up in my art at some point.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Glorious Octopus Lightbox

Popping in to share this brilliant work of art I just was lucky enough to acquire. Yes, it's a two-piece rusted iron light box with an octopus carved in it by my friend Todd Barricklow. Sorry, cephalopod fans, it's one of a kind.

Octopus Diptych by day, by Todd Barricklow

Do check out Todd's work on his website - besides making amazing light boxes, he's a wonderful ceramacist, as well as a builder of contraptions for the Handcar Regatta.

Octopus Diptych by night, by Todd Barricklow

Todd is also the creator of the famous Taco Bike, which you may see out and about if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Alexis Berger Designs - Handblown Glass Tentacles



I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Alexis Berger and her work in person this weekend at the always-splendid Edwardian Ball and artisan showcase in San Francisco. Check out this handblown glass tentacle necklace!




See more beautifully crafted, nature inspired handmade lampwork glass jewelry and personal adornments, reminiscent of Art Nouveau and the Belle Epoch, at Alexis's website: www.alexisberger.com, and visit her workshop on Facebook here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Eyes of the Cephalopod

I was looking for reference photos for a stuffed octopus I was making, when I stumbled across some interesting information on cephalopod eyes.

I already knew a bit about how cephalopod eyes are different from vertebrate eyes--the eye of the octopus is often used as an example of convergent evolution (that is, where similar structures evolve from different beginnings due to similar uses)--and I knew that in some ways, the octopus eye works better than the human eye (it doesn't have the same blind spot from the optic nerve, for example), but there are some really cool things I didn't know about cephalopod eyes.


The most obvious difference between cephalopod eyes and human eyes is that cephalopods have horizontal pupils. Not only that, but because the eyes can rotate in a way that most vertebrate eyes cannot, and because cephalopods have a balance organ called a statocyst, they can always keep their pupils horizontal, no matter what position their body is in. This means their brains can always interpret visual information the same way, and not have to account for the position of the eye.

Cephalopod eyes can also see polarized light, allowing them to communicate by creating changing patterns on their skin that we humans can't see except with the help of special cameras.

The difference between cephalopod and vertebrate eyes partly stems from their very beginnings. While vertebrate eyes develop as an extension of the brain, cephalopod eyes started out as light-sensitive skin cells that folded inwards to form the structure they have now.

Both types of eyes developed retinas, corneas, irises and lenses, but the way those structures are arranged and used is different. The light-receptive cells in cephalopod eyes point directly outward into the light, while those of vertebrates point inward, instead catching light reflected off the back of the eye.

Vertebrate eye lenses are flexible and the can can be focused by special muscles that change the shape of the lens. Cephalopod eye lenses are inflexible and have their focus fixed on a relatively nearby point, but can be focused with muscles that move the entire lens closer to or father from the retina.

So there you have another reason why cephalopods are cool: they've got really interesting eyes that are both very similar to ours, and very different.

Image credit: "Difference between human and octopus eyes" by Jerry Crimson Mann, 2005, used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License and found on Wikimedia Commons.

A little New Year give away

Thanks to CreativeEtching we've got a little gift to all our readers for the start of 2011! Two cephalopod pins to give away. Be sure to stop by his Facebook page for other giveaways and fun.
I considered what the theme of the contest should be for a good long while before finally coming up with it, and I hope everyone has great fun with it. So.

TO ENTER: You must write a cephalopod haiku, and post it in a comment here. If you don't know what a haiku is, wikipedia has a very thorough article, but the short version is, a poem with three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables (technically moras which are slightly different but...). They don't need to be great poems, or terribly clever, you just have to write one!

Don't forget that if you aren't a blogger user or your contact email isn't in your profile you'll need to post it here or email it to us so we can tell you if you win!

No multiple entries this time, dear readers, but multiple Haiku's are welcome. Maybe we'll put together some sort of fine and lovely illustrated haiku post from them later! Winners will be selected in a random drawing (via magical internet randomizers, although I might just write all your names down and have my roommate draw them out of a hat just for the sake of pomp and circumstance). Entry Deadline is Sunday Jan 23rd!

To get you started, here is a haiku that appeared on the twitter feed DailyHaiku-

The octopus' fleeting dream
in the trap
the summer moon
by Matsuo Bashô

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maximo Riera Octopus Chair


A little pricey for most of our furniture budgets, sure, but this piece bears mention. I cannot get over this thing, no matter how many times I see it online.

From Maximo Riera comes The Octopus Chair, where art meets nature and man meets beast in this gorgeous, masterfully crafted piece. It is first of The Animals Collection, consisting of more than fifteen different pieces inspired by the beauty of the natural world. Painstakingly sketched, assembled, crafted and painted by hand, as Riera says, “The Octopus Chair therefore becomes a powerful intersection of complex human design integrated with nature’s splendor.”

Beautiful, majestic and every bit as otherworldly as the animal itself, I fear I would be too awe-struck to ever sit in it...

You can find more on Maximo Riera, The Animals Collection and The Octopus Chair at his website, MaximoRiera.com


Sunday, January 9, 2011

After the presents are unwrapped

Now that the Holidays are over and 2011 and has begun, its time to consider sending out thank you cards for gifts - especially if you didn't send out Christmas cards this year! Jackie Bublitz, of MetropolisDesigns has just the cards for all your thank you needs. After your birthday, for all your charming wedding guests, or just when someone special needs a thank you cuddle(fish) - nothing shows your appreciation like cephalopods!
I especially enjoy this set because it includes the oft ignored cuttlefish and nautilus.