Friday, November 18, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire Preview: Mermaid Tory

I will be presenting a new project for my third year at the Rochester Mini Make Faire on Saturday, November 19th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Rochester Convention Center. Year one and year two were awesome, and I'm very excited about this year as well.

This year I am doing a project I am calling the Articulated Paper Creature Mash-Up.  That's a mouth full, but what is means is that you can come to my booth, stamp an image of various body parts of a character on cardstock, cut them out, and assemble the character with brass fasteners to create a poseable/jointed/articulated paper doll.  I have hand carved each of the pieces into a rubber stamp by hand, so you can build your creation from the ground up.

Oh, you mean like a paper doll that my grandma used to play with?  Well, sort of, but not exactly. The characters and creatures are not just little cute little girls with pony-tails.  The characters are from other local artist's imaginations.  You can build a single character, or mix-and-match pieces together to create a brand new mash-up.

Today I'm featuring Mermaid Tory!

Tory O'Neil is the woman behind Mermaid Tory and Friends.  Tory is a character performer and costume maker.  Tory says on her Facebook page that she began her career performing as various princesses for a "princess company."  Then she decided to create her own costumes and characters. As a character performer, she makes appearances at hospitals, festivals, parities, and museums.

Mermaid Tory's tail is an art piece in itself.  Made from neoprene and thousands of sequins, each carefully stitched into it's place, it is truly a show stopper.  That alone would make it incredible, but what takes it to another level is the fact that Tory can swim with it on.  That's right, it is waterproof, and she can swim with it!

One reason I was interested in doing a paper doll of Mermaid Tory was the fact that she has a strong sense of character.  Each of the paper dolls I carved this year had a personality beyond the paper. Some of the characters, like Fidget and Budd Jett, are three dimensional sculptures.  Ms. Lucha and Maker Kid are 2D illustrations.  Mermaid Tory though is a living, performing, art piece.  I think this variety nicely shows a range of what character art can be!

I'm very happy with how Tory's doll came out.  Carving each scale on her tail took a good deal of time, more so than some of the other dolls.  As I kept turning the block, and making a cut, just like the one before it, and repeating it over and over, I thought about how Tory had to stitch on each sequin, one after another, on her tail.  You get into a rhythm, a bit of zen, but you also wonder when you will finish it!

I'm very excited to share Tory the Mermaid's paper doll to the public at the Maker Faire this Saturday.

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