Jammin’ with jellyfish

It would be tough to tell which of the jellyfish are glass and which are real, except the real ones are moving. Chico’s own Richard Satava is one of a dozen featured artists whose work is on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He created three blown-glass jellyfish that are part of an exhibit and related book called Jellies: Living Art.

“I experimented for probably six months,” said Satava, who had made jellyfish before but not on the scale the aquarium people wanted when they contacted him. (He designed some pieces for them back in the 1980s.) The translucent, lifelike creatures took shape from the body out, and then one tentacle at a time. Each weighs 50 pounds, so Satava used four helpers at once during the process. “I needed all their physical strength and assistance.”

The display was unveiled last month. The exhibition continues through Jan. 4, 2005, so you have plenty of time to go check them out. People are already calling the shop to praise Satava’s work and see what he has available for sale.

The mother of invention conventions

Have you spent the last 10 years’ worth of your spare time in the basement designing the best thingamajig ever? Consider yourself the next Thomas Edison?

A new project is offering up some of the tools that could make these bright ideas come to fruition. Ryne Johnson is the CEO of The ChicoProject, which helped secure a grant being administered by the Golden State Capital Network. He said businesses with “fast-growth potential” can learn what they need to know to pitch to and, they hope, hook up with “angel investors” who will give them money in exchange for a share of the profits and the thrill of watching a small business go national or worldwide.

Johnson said applicants so far have ranged from inventors of software and hardware, to folks who have come up with ideas for new toys, household products and auto- and agriculture-related things.

Of course, he said, the people who will have the best chance should not only have a great idea, but have taken it “far past the conceptual stage,” like having secured a patent. What they need is professional expertise to further develop and market the product—and capital. Johnson said that lawyers, financial planners and such are always on the lookout for up-and-comers, as are the investors themselves.

“It’s not a guarantee,” Johnson said, but he wouldn’t be surprised if the next big thing ended up coming from Chico. “There are some exceptional entrepreneurial minds in the Northstate.”

The next step will be to show up at a kickoff event May 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room. (There’s one in Redding on the 14th, too.)

But now they don’t feel special

Give Gov. Gray Davis points for efficiency. Rather than pretend he is filled with love at each and every one of the “month of,” “week of” and “day of” proclamations he signed for May, he’s included them all on one handy press release.

I’m including for your reference a partial list of the 29 recognized.

May is the month for: arthritis awareness, California museums, community residential care, languages and cultures, older Californians, water awareness, California refugee awareness, foster care and safe jobs for youth.

May 1 was both Guide Dog Day and California Law Day, the 2nd was the California Day of Prayer (church, state—who really separates anymore?) But you haven’t missed Home Building Day, May 14.