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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Merry Slugmas and Happy Nudi Year!

Every year in December, Jim and Bev have a holiday party that involves a white elephant-style gift exchange.  Most of the attendees are from the dive community, so there are lots of ocean and dive-themed gifts.  Many years ago, I had the (excellent, if I do say so myself) idea to make a stuffed animal version of a sea slug as our entry in the gift exchange.  And I have been doing that every year since then.  I've also made a few bonus, non-white elephant sea slugs as gifts for people.  When I was working on my 2019 creation, I realized that the first year that I made a stuffed nudi was 2009, so this was the 10th anniversary of slug-making.  I thought that this warranted a blog post to finally showcase the slug collection.  I've literally been thinking of doing this for years, so this is finally a forcing function!

In order to do this, I first had to find pictures of each slug.  This turned out to be a bit trickier than I expected.  I know I took pictures of each slug, but some have been lost on old phones I think.  I managed to cobble together pictures of all but two of the slugs, and figured out which two were missing.  I had a guess as to who won those two, and I got one of the two right -- Dionna won the slug in 2014 and was kind enough to send me a picture of it!  I still haven't found a picture of 2012's slug, but maybe the recipient will read this post and let me know :)

By my count, there are a total of 15 slugs in the collection, which is way too many to cover in one post!  So I'll break this up into 3 or 4 posts, which I'll post weekly during January, covering the slugs chronologically.  Just to warn you, they get WAY better over time.  When I first started making slugs, I was a beginning seamstress, and now I'm at least intermediate (not because of the slug-making but because I've made at least a dozen quilts over that time).  The slug at the beginning of this post is one of the 2019 slugs.

For the original slug, I kept it easy and made a dorid, whose characteristics I knew pretty well -- a Doriopsilla albopunctata:

Photo by Clinton Bauder

It's a bit hard to see the little white spots in the picture of the stuffed version, but they are there!

The stuffed Doriopsilla was quite a hit at the party that first year, and Clinton was having a house warming party shortly after that (and was *very* disappointed not to win the original slug) so I made him a Rostanga pulchra as a housewarming gift.  Suzanne, who won the Doriopsilla also had the idea to give her slug to Clinton as a housewarming gift, so he ended up with two slugs!

Photo by Clinton Bauder

Before I made this slug, I knew that Rostangas have interesting rhinophores, but I learned a lot about the shape of them while doing research for the stuffed version.

A few months after that, Clinton was travelling to Mexico to dive with Alicia Hermosillo and asked if I could possibly make a slug for her -- she was the scientific advisor for our BAUE nudibranch project, so it seemed like an awesome thank you gift to her!  After a bit of discussion with Clinton, I settled on Hypselodoris californiensis, which Alicia has studied.  (Apparently it's now called Felimare californiensis, grumble grumble).  I have never actually seen this slug, but it sure is pretty!  Below, it is posing with Clinton's other two slugs (and I love how the slugs match his table runner!).

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Alright, I think that's a good start.  More to come soon!

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