What's with all this Otter talk?
What in the world do sea otters have to do with glassblowing?
Do you wonder why we named our first studio collection after Otters? Or, why we have an Otter blowing glass as our logo for classes, glassblowing events, and on our apparel?
Those of you from Monterey, or who have visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium can probably can already guess why. Besides the fact that they are so darn cute, they are the little eco warriors whose story is both inspiring and intricately tied to the recovery of the Monterey Bay following the ecological devastation of the 30's, 40's and 50's.
Otters and the Recovery of Monterey Bay
The Monterey Bay of the mid 50's was suffering the 30 year devastation of the crashed canneries and sardine fisheries. The former kelp forests were long gone, thanks to the sea urchins that now covered the bay floor, prospering off the offal of the former canneries.
Yet down in Big Sur, a small group of Otters survived. With fur hunting outlawed, they slowly recovered, until one day in early 1963 a small group of male otters reached far enough north to enter the bay. They settled in and began the work in earnest of recovering the Monterey Bay...simply by doing what they love to do, eat sea urchins; eat LOTS and LOTS of sea urchins. This first domino led to the return of the kelp forests, seals, and other sea life that thrives in the rainforest-like ecosystem diversity of the kelp forests. All because of these hard working little otters doing what they love to do.
Doing good by Doing well
The Sea Otter then serves as a mascot for us; a small group of artists, far away from where we learned our skills, doing what we love to do, glassblowing. Our hope is that like them, we can do what we love, but in a way that can meaningfully contribute change to the environment we love.
This means, while we will be using the legacy Venetian glassblowing techniques we all love, we will transform how a studio creates its works to move it away from the unsustainable methods of the past. This means we will:
1. Give a percent of all revenue we make to the planet.
2. Take the effort to manually collect waste vegetable oil and glass bottles from community businesses
3. Invest time and cost to make this waste reusable to create new art
4. Pledge to our customers that when they are done with their pieces made by us, we will take it back, find a new home for it, or use it to remake other art/glass.
So...join us in being an otter! - Nate
PS. for those of you wishing to learn more about the Monterey Bay Ecosystem, the role the Otters and heroes like Julia Platt (the ultimate Otter-eco warrior) played, I suggest The Death & Life of Monterey Bay by Stephan R. Palumbi and Caroyln Sotka.