Mermaid: Polymer clay, mohair, glitter, half shell, oil paint, approximately 5"
Mermaids are one of my favorite subjects of fancy. This little lady must be dreaming of pearls.
She is sculpted of polymer clay - sometimes with a needle, to get fine details. Her scales and fins are made from original canes. The scaling is in a loose style, more graphic than fishy. Her lacy top is made of thin slices of a crackle cane. I chose gold for the crackle.
In this close-up, you can see her delicate little fingers and soft blushing of the flesh. I use water-based oils, lightly applied with a soft cloth. The details are then applied with a tiny (000) brush.
Water-based oil paint is beautiful on polymer clay. It seeps into the surface of the clay, so you get staining that seems to come within. Acrylics are plastic and though some will stain, most will lay on the surface of the baked clay. I use them for eye liners, sometimes lips and eyebrows. I often mix the water-based oil with a touch of acrylic indoor/outdoor paint for the parts I want to have a stronger pigment.
The hair! Her long locks are made of mohair. This mohair is produced for dolls. It is very soft and obviously dyed. It comes in a hank. A hank is a bundle of strands put up in a consistent length and weight.
I pull a strand, wet it and twist it in my fingers until there is a point at either end of the strand. This dries quickly and holds. I apply glue to the top of the mermaid's head, let it get tacky. I then lay the strand in the glue so there is even length on both sides of the head. This is the start of my wig. I end up twirling the ends of loose strands and then shape them to the sculpture to look care-free.
The final touch is displaying my mermaid with acrylic "ice". You can find it in the floral department. It is pretty to photograph. It is not fun to step on.