Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mermaid Marionettes

Since my new projects are coming along so slowly, I thought I'd just catch up by posting some older work here. These are photos of some papier mache mermaid marionettes that I made for my two granddaughters in 2007. I'm wishing now that I had taken some more close-ups of their faces after they were finished.

I found this project at the incredible website, The Paper Mache Resource

The heads are blown-out eggs, with features sculpted from paper clay, covered with basic homemade paper mache, finished with several layers of tissue paper, then painted with acrylic paint and sealed with gel medium. The bodies are built using a nylon stocking, with the torso and tail sections constructed out of newspaper-stuffed cardboard inserted inside the stocking, and separated by rubber bands until the final drying step. The nylon serves to keep the whole thing connected as one piece, with flexibility allowing the tail to move and "swim".

Each section is layered with paper mache... with much drying time in between each layer (did I mention this was a very labor-intensive and time-consuming project?!?). Then paper clay was used to sculpt the shell-bras and the arms and hands.

I painted the fish scale designs on the tails, consulting a book about fish species, using metallic acrylic paints of various shades of green, blue and purple... with a wash of a white opalescent paint and a final coat of gel medium.

The marionettes are strung from four simple points... the crown of the head, each hand, and the end of the tail. Kudos to my husband, Karl, for crafting the wonderful wooden crossbars! I happened to have the most perfect eyelash yarn for their hair in my yarn stash, and the wigs turned out brilliantly, even though I was winging it at the last minute.

Needless to say, I got almost NOTHING else done that Christmas, but my darling girls loved them, so what else matters?


Sarah said...

oh those are just adorable I havent seen them what a cool mermaid

Patti said...

I can't believe you never got to see them! I think the girls need to bring them out sometime when you're dropping them off or something. In fact, I'd really like YOU to photograph some of my stuff sometime. My camera is so chumpy.

Gillian said...

Completely Delightful!!!

I'm sure they will be treasured and played with for many, many years :)