Sometimes things don’t go as planned. And sometimes this leads to new and good things. This is also how the fish wall art came to life.
Vacationing in Spain, my boyfriend and I splurged on snorkeling gear. Every day we swam and snorkeled until we were cold and tired. There was so much to see and the fish in the mediterranean were so close. If you’ve never put on goggles you sure miss something that’s swimming around you. A whole world to discover. We went snorkeling in Malaysia too and it’s been our main activity for vacations ever since. Here’s a picture of me and my iphone cover. Bad quality photos are the result but we were psyched.
I brought some airdrying clay and acrylics along from home to play instead of work. I sculpted two fish and painted them under the canopy of our tent. It was a lovely time. I posted them on my bird riddled instagram and was surprised with the response. This would be my new hobby! I had to make more of these!
I researched how I would make them from a sturdy material. But then something happened in my business that I couldn’t predict. I’d worked 6 months on a project that got postponed. (more about this in August ’17) I was supposed to present new items in the February tradeshows but I had nothing to show for another 6 months. It was too late to have anything produced before show-season. I had to find something I could make myself and that is how I decided to make a collection of handmade fish hangings. I have seen quite a lot of beautiful fish already in my snorkeling adventures. There was plenty of inspiration! I set out to make 5 and intended to be able to reproduce them fairly easily.
After some research I found out how to make a mould from a sculpted base. When making a mould you first make a clay base. And then you pour silicone over it to make the actual mould. You can see how I pour it here. And when this is set I demould it. With demoulding you always lose the base of clay. But you can soon pour a new shape with it. I use a ceramic type of plaster to create my fish.
Then, it’s time to start painting. My favourite part. I blend the colours and try to make them new and quirky but still true to nature. I love the grumpy looking grouper and the gaze of the others. Like only fish can gaze.
For each and every subject that I work on I write a story. Here are the stories of each of the fish.
The Boarfish from the Mediterranean. Unlike almost all my other fish, birds, animals and flowers, I didn’t actually see this little fish. It was when my mother-in-law gave me a book about fish in the Mediterranean that I fell in love with this oddly shaped freaky little seamonster. There’s room for him!
The Coral Grouper I met on my travels in Malaysia. After a day scuba diving and snorkeling on the island of Borneo, we saw this dude on a fish market. It made us think that perhaps we should eat a little less so these gorgeous bright red fish can continue making the sea a place of beauty.
White Seabream, this one we met in Spain. Anyone who goes swimming in the Mediterranean sea can meet this chunky fellow in all kinds of sizes. Seabreams are all born male, but some decide that they want to be a female and change!
The Salema Porgy we also met in Spain. Anyone who goes swimming in the Mediterranean sea can meet this friendly vegetarian. He hangs in big groups and grazes veggies off the rocks.
Humbug Damselfish and twin, now that’s a funny story. I had set out to make 5 fish. I wanted this bright cutie to be part of it too. But I was working so fast I didn’t notice I had made a lovely yet unruly and cheeky little damsel of a fish that swam in the wrong direction. Like a mad woman I made her a friend/lover/twin that swims in the proposed direction. Just so you can have the school of 5 fish like I set out to make. And if you like the idea of friends/lovers/twins, swimming together in the sea; she’s not alone anymore. You can see them meet up and look at each other. I saw many of them in the Malaysian sea, so I am sure there were friends, lovers and twins amongst them.
I know fish aren’t exactly widely accepted as cute. But I hope you can see they’re beautiful, even with their funny stare and amazing colours.