For those of you who have not met Mr. Mer, here he is last year as I was working on his anatomy.
1-2 Mr. Mer 2021
Mr. Mer was underwhelmed with how I had left his basic under-structure of his fishy bits. I agreed with him that he was not quite as pike-like as I would like. The fish part of the body needed to be thicker and more muscular when compared to my photo reference. How can you fight snapping turtles with such a scrawny lower body? I still liked the vestigial knees but felt the idea had not yet coalesced into a good integration between man and fish. I will think more on this as I add bulk to his fishiness.
3 parts of the green fibre collection.
I dug through the greens I had been using, I was almost out of one of the colours I had blended and will have to blend more of it! I was using the large ball of “Olive” Corriedale as the base and adding other greens to mottle and create the colour for the under-structure. The darker top that I was blending with the olive I am pretty sure some was the Superwash I had bought from the Black lamb.
4-5 blending wool to build up Mr. Mer’s fish body and tail.
Since I needed a reasonable amount of fibre to build up his fish end I used the hand carders to partly blend the colours. (Nature tends not to have flat colours.) Although I usually hand blend small amounts for details, using the handcards or even dog brushes is easier on the hands and wrists than working with the same amount of fibre hand blending. When I take the fibre off the cards, it is still quite a long staple. For the under layer and blocking in the basic shape this will work. However, as I get closer to the final shape I tend to tear the fibre into pieces from half an inch to an inch long.
Although I started with the armature and adding shapes build-up of fibre as per Sara’s instructions I have deviated well away from her original Mer-Maid design. She tends to work by adding formed shapes, but for this one, she added a wet felted skin layer to put over her under-structure. I have had more fun using a more blended approach of both additive and subtractive sculpture. (Adding pre-formed shapes and felting them into place is a lot faster than what I tend to do with using layers and small amounts of loose fibre to sculpt into the desired shape).
You can see I have moved from legs with a tail shape Mer-Man to the beginnings of a more human-fish hybrid.
6-8 upgrading Fishy-bits underway
I like the direction but need to increase the height and a bit more width of the fish section. I am investigating the popliteal space (the area behind the knees). I like the angle of the intersection but want to raise the fish spine a bit higher.
9-10 Needs a bit more
Oh no, he is not going to like the way that tail looks, it’s a bit bear. I over fanned the armature of the tail and then added wisps of full-length staple. I added a bit to each side using a variety of needles and finally the punch tool (fake clover tool). so when I adjust the tail to the correct position the webbing should ripple like partly closing a fan.
11-12 Working on the tail
That seems a bit better so I switched back to the body again.
13 elevating the top line of the fish body
I have made both the top line higher and am investigating the angle of integrating behind the knees. Tomorrow Is Library Day for the guild and I will ask Ann what she thinks. So it’s time for Mr. Mer to get into his project bag (not that I expect to have any time to work on him tomorrow) but I am sure he will enjoy getting out of the house and Ann will like seeing how he is coming along.
14 On Library Day, Ann Checked out Mr. Mer’s Progress, she had a few suggestions.
15-17 Ann critiques him
As we got the library ready for book pick up, Mr. Mer took up position on top of a small 8 harness loom to watch for guild members wanting their requested books.
18-20 Mr. Mer is watching for Library patrons
I noticed he was having trouble bending and has to maintain a push-up to allow him to look out the window. I have to see what I can do to help him. I will start with an assessment of his ROM (Range of Motion) particularly at his waist but that will be in my next post.
I will hope you are not getting bored with the fishiness of my posts and promise to try to work on something different, but the next post will be part 2. There may be surgery involved!
Have fun and keep felting!!