Sunday, 9 March 2014

Mermaid sculpture - intended for front porch of our house.

This has been a very long project, sculpting a mermaid to sit on a brick "shelf" at the side of the arch of the porch. I had intended to make one for either side but she has taken so long I am inclined to change to making something tiny next time! Exquisite yet indeterminate  porcelain things, I think, hanging from almost invisible wires... and very very very small.

Something like this (made years ago)

Despite careful measurements this mermaid also seems too big, but I am hoping that she will shrink by at least the 10% she is supposed to. I  had a cardboard template of the right angle of the wall and "shelf" where she is to fit, and also a template of the base, but She could have outgrown them.
Her face is deliberately a bit fish eyed: I had to be stopped from adding a fish tail hanging out of her mouth but she is much more sinister than I intended.
She still needs the rest of her tail which is being constructed separately as it is too big for the kiln otherwise.

Technical info - she is made of crank, which is a strong and gritty clay suitable for outdoor use and I built her up from the thighs upwards, closing the head last of all.
I decided on hair to cover her breasts as the shells were just incredibly naff,

Hair is inclined to fall off - I know this from bitter experience, as I have various balding figures - so the hair was really wet and moulded into the figure. 

 she his holding seaweed in her hands which are designed to hold a bowl (of ivy?) so there is a drainage hole there, 

and she has been made as thin and hollow as possible so she should fire OK. 

I incised seaweed patterns and scales on the tail

For the tail, I made a template to fit on the end of the existing tail with some seaweedy bits to hide the join (that is what the bowl of ivy could also be for, to flow over the join like "foam"). There is a projecting tube to fit the tail piece into the existing sculpture, and the tail has been rolled out in clay then curved into shape.
I will add pictures of the tail piece next time I go to my pottery session. 


  1. I love your mermaid - cannot wait to see it finished!

  2. Thanks so much! Unfortunately I did not get to my final pottery class last Tuesday as I was ill so the tail is wrapped up and very wet in the hope that I'll finish it when pottery starts again - on the 22nd April :(