I have my own recipe for papier mache'; it contains ingredients to harden it and keep it from getting moldy, something we need in the humid Southern United States. I buy pulverized newsprint. It's not expensive. I'd rather buy it then pulverize it myself.
I start with a galv wire armature, fill in with newspaper and I use masking tape to help build up the armature before the sculpt commences.
Things like eyes are added along the way.
Certain "features" are built up as I proceed, as well as the facial features. The fingers were individually shaped. There is also a bit of a recess in each hand that helps Merrecho hold her orbs.
Vintage oval-shaped sequins, while very expensive, were perfect for this piece.
In my head, I saw Merrecho as a very thin, but strong being. Her exagerated facial features, long slender fingers, long yet powerful tail are all part of the vision. With a tail the size of hers, in relation to the slenderness of her body, imagine how fast this girl can swim!
Her hair is synthetic. The first two rows were glued on, from the nape up. Then I started drilling tiny holes in the "scalp." I took strands of hair and embedded a strand into each hole. The part was cross-hatched so it looks like a real part. Some of her scalp was painted dark brown so that it would not show.
The wings are made from Fantasy Film, over a small gauge wire frame.
The scales were purchased from a vintage sewing supply vendor. The are pretty large, oval-shaped, and were the colors of the sea, which is why I chose them.
Incidentally, I use clear house caulking to help fill in ridges and imperfections on my pieces (and to glue in the hair strands). It's marvelous! I also like to use it to glue things onto them. It's permanent and it dries clear even though it is white while I'm working.
I paint my sculpts with real house paint! I always check out the "oops" paint at my local Home Depot or Lowe's Building Center. This helps them withstand scratches and make them tougher.
Merrecho offers two orbs to her beholder, a hematite and a goldstone. Her hematite, also known as a bloodstone, dissolves negativity and turns it into love. If she offers the gift of a goldstone, she is hoping to give the recipient renewed strength.
Her large, lavender eyes implore you to accept her gifts. But you'd better hurry, she can fly away or jump into the water as quickly as she appeared!
All text and photography, © April, 2008, by Beth-Ellen Colvin