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  • Writer's pictureSusan Sowerby

How to make a beautiful mermaid face in clay

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

My clay sculpture students often ask,  ‘how do I make a beautiful mermaid face?’ They complain that they’ve made a great mermaid body, but the face is ugly as sin!

Here is a free tutorial showing my simple method which works fantastically for larger faces, though not so well for small ones. Another post may help with those.

The basic idea for the larger face is to flatten the piece of clay, make it concave with some screwed up newspaper underneath, push eye sockets in, large like a skeleton’s, then put fingers behind and push out from the back rather than building up on the top, which can be quite difficult and tedious. This method is much quicker and very satisfying as you can instantly push bits of the face – cheek-bones, chin, nose and forehead, forward, then back and watch them grow and change until you like it.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to photograph the varying faces you get until you come to the one you want? Remember to stop there, for many different characters can emerge.

One of the problems I notice which inhibits people’s expression with clay, (or anything for that matter,) is the fear that it has to be good or that it won’t be good. Maybe that started in school, but this mind set creates so much judgement on their poor little baby creations that they often squash them before they have had a chance to form. There’s a graffiti wall in my studio and someone has written, ‘So often we trash the whole thing when only a tiny bit needs to change.’ So true! So in for a penny in for a pound, we need to loose the stress and enjoy the process. The wonderful thing about clay is its amorphous quality. I believe our subconscious mind talks to us through it, if we let it.

This needs no more words. Relax and enjoy the video.

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