Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Mermaiding We Will Go

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve committed myself to a Mermaid Challenge. I’m going to meet the first deadline: Feb 1 to show the body and the beads. Yesterday I finished two faces, one that was totally bronzed and one that only had a bit of bronzing on it. The reason is because I coated the mould with the bronze Fimo “pulver” (metal powder) and pressed the first face. It was pretty thick and I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted for this doll. So I used the scraps and pressed again to get a much thinner face cab with only some bronze highlights on a blue-green base. I baked them both and then coated them with a layer of Flecto Diamond Varathane semi-gloss to protect the surface from abrasion. I’m sure I’ll eventually find a use for the “rejected” face. It’s actually quite beautiful but not what I was aiming for.

I got busy today and drew the mermaid body which I scanned into my computer to manipulate a bit more. I wanted her arms up and dancing with a flipped up tail and the original was too big. When I was happy with the shape, I printed it on the back of a piece of freezer paper and cut it out with paper scissors. I ironed it onto a doubled layer of the fabric, paying attention to where I wanted the fabric’s pattern to be on the front of the body. I was trying for a lighter area above the hips. With the pattern firmly pressed to the fabric it was easy to stitch around the paper with a short machine stitch leaving an unsewn area at her hip to stuff her through. I cut her out around leaving a 1/8” seam allowance (larger at the stuffing hole) and clipped into the corners and inner curves carefully. I used my trusty bamboo skewer to help turn the narrow arms and tail and finally got her right-side out. I stamped some greeny-bronze metallic fabric paint on both sides of her tail up to the hips using a scaley stamp I’d carved ages ago for another project. It doesn’t show up that much but I like that effect because it balances the bronze on her face. I ironed it carefully to set the paint.

Then I spent ages stuffing her with the skewer and little bits of polyester batting. I left her tail less filled and her arms and torso very tightly stuffed. When she was done, I stitched up the opening while making sure there was enough stuffing right to the end of the seam. Then I glued on her face with E6000 using less glue than I did last time so it didn’t ooze out. I also found another one of the T-Man’s broken beads that looked ok for her breasts. So now she’s ready for the next step. In case you really need to know — she measures 6 inches from the top of her hands to the bottom where she flips up.

I may or may not use what I’ve chosen for the beads. I’ll have to start in and see what happens! I don’t want to cover her though, just embellish somewhat. I don’t want to hide all the great fabric I dyed and stamped underneath! It’s interesting the colours that she ended up with. When I was first planning her, I was going to go with something more like the gorgeous pinks and greens that I’ve seen at the Vancouver Aquarium in the tanks exhibiting local anemones and corals. However, the mermaid had other ideas and wanted to go more with water and seaweed colours instead. There is no arguing with a doll who has her fuzzy little mind made up as to what she wants you to do for her. Ya just gotta go with the flow. I guess I'll just find out where she wants to go next.

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