It was a year ago, while walking along Smugglers Beach at Coffs Harbour, N.S.W, that a strong desire to create a mermaid who expressed the colour, mystique and allure of the ocean sank into my mind.
Mostly my creations just happen. Materials on hand tend to dictate what emerges and it always is a surprise at the end of the journey just how and what has taken shape. This time the urge was to create a “real” mermaid and the challenge to honour this desire began. Of course trying to control did not give happy results and apart from an armature wrapped with wool roving the process stalled. At the same time I was also ill and that, too, took a long time to resolve. Perhaps finishing her is also a completion of the journey that needed to be undertaken to heal and renew.
After the initial burst of desire the project stalled lingering in a box till July2010. Part of my healing strategy was to take a regular beach walk. It was on one of these walks that a mermaid lay stretched out on the sand. (She is featured in an earlier post titled Found). On the way back the sea was already claiming her. What a poke from the Muse! That night I pulled out the tangle of wool and wire. A face started to emerge from the fleece.
Instead of focusing on how to make a beautiful sea creature I meditated on the sea and mermaid myths, wondering how and why. By letting go of the end result and flowing with the essence of the ocean I found that she ended up as much one imagines a mermaid to be. However, this mermaid has evoked from deep within me the love and fear we have of the ocean. Her creation has much enhanced my understanding and awareness of the concept that regards the ocean as being the Great Mother, that vital creative essence which intially birthed all life. It also instilled a profound awareness of how this life-giving power of water can also destroy.
This particular piece was a long process that took many months to complete but the slow pace felt right. A poke here and there, time to gather the right textures and colours and work out how to mix it all together. A bit like the rhythm of the waves gently rolling in to shore and back out leaving behind treasures of the sea.
Shimmering emerald lame, overlaid with a fine gold tulle to represent scales, covers the tail. This little piece of lame was very special- a gift from my daughter that has a lot of love and sentiment woven into the fibres. Angelina fibre is used to make a top to give her skin a watery sheen.
Unfused Angelina fibres were placed in her merino silk hair to catch the light and give a hint of wetness and the ocean. Tiny pearls are caught up in her locks. Little glass beads form a necklace which has a tiny sea shell pendant. Glass beads also make a bracelet and are incorporated in the seaweed tiara that frames her face.
It has amazed me that finally she is done and that she has she indeed has an expression of mystique and allure. That questioning gaze I hope conveys to others a wonderment of life and the beauty of the sea.