Dec 20

Mermaid Shrine

mermaid shrine


I started this the same time I began the other altoids-tin resin shrines. I wanted to find out  which material is the best for sculpting the frame around the altoids tin. One I used paperclay and one I used two-part putty epoxy (except I haven’t posted about that one yet.) This was plaster. I had mixed the plaster to pour some crowns and wings in some silicone molds I have, thinking I could use them for something, and you can tell by the crown here that I did. So I slathered on the rest of the plaster around this tin and did some impressions in it.

Once the plaster cured, I took some watercolor paint and layered on a few colors I liked. I’d chosen the blue and red paper for the back of the tin, so I chose blues and purples. At this point, I wasn’t sure what the theme would be. I had the fimo pie-shaped pieces and the square with the text on it, so I glued those on. The paint layered well in the plaster troughs, but you can see it’s thinner on the peaks. This made me think of waves or coral. I highlighted this and the fimo with silver colored rub-and-buff, and also on the yellow crown, since the yellow didn’t match in hue but did match a little in shape.

The coral colored tiles were left over from the other mosaic I did, which you’ll see in a week or two.

What about a mermaid, I thought? Triton, undersea, something like that. I put a grungeboard crown I’d done for the special blue book. What I needed was some kelp, and a mermaid. I originally planned to sculpt them all out of polymer clay. Getting out the polymer clay is kind of a big deal, because you have to have a clean table, and a pasta roller, and the whole thing is best done in warmer months because it’s more malleable at warmer temperatures (my studio has no heat). Then I thought maybe I”d just paint it, but when I looked up pictures of kelp, I realized that it has a flat shape, and I could construct something quite kelp-like out of tissue paper.

After pouring the resin in, the tissue paper became much more transparent than I thought it would. And I had another problem as well. For some reason, the resin didn’t cure properly, even though it cured just fine in the bottlecaps. I think there must be something in the grungeboard or the paper or the tin that interfered with the chemical reaction.

I’d spent so much time on this, I didn’t want to throw it away just because the resin didn’t cure properly. After a couple of days, it was clear that it wasn’t ever going to become un-sticky. I don’t think you can pour new resin over improperly cured resin.  You can certainly photograph it though. So I sketched a mermaid in pencil, colored her with water-soluble colored pencils, and did a wash to make her look better. Then when she was dry, I inked around her, and cut the mermaid out of the paper. Didn’t even have to glue her in, just pressed her into the sticky resin.

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