So far I have not seen a real one but you never know….!
Besides sailing I am also a passionate sculptor. You can imagine how excited I was when Jana and Dieter from Le Phare Bleu commissioned me to create a figure head for the relaunch of their restaurant ‘The Deck’.
The practice of figure heads date back to the 16th century and lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. The figure was often named after the ship, she was a patron saint and believed to influence the success of a trip. In Europe it was believed that spirits/faeries lived in the figureheads. The spirit would protect the ship and its crew from sickness, storms and dangerous winds.
Figureheads were carved from massive wood and mounted on the tip of the hull which affected the sailing qualities of the ship. This, plus the cost of such a piece of art was the reason that the figures got smaller in the 18th century until they were abolished altogether. Sad really if you look at some of those great figureheads, that are now collector items and can be admired in marine museums or bought as reproductions.
The forms of the figure heads changed with the time. Besides of lions, mermaids, warriors or powerful or delicate female characters were carved and mounted on the stern of the boat to ward off evil spirits.
For this mermaid I used various materials, the cast was done with a wire mesh and plastered with cements. As an artist I always like to work with other artists, do projects together. So I asked my friend Susan Mains, a great and well known artist, if she would like to join me and help painting the ‘lady’. She agreed and it was great fun!
On 21th June The Deck at Le Phare Bleu was officially opened with a new and great menu! Guests were asked to submit names for ‘The Mermaid’. We will let you know her name as soon as it was chosen.
The mermaid shall now protect Le Phare Bleu Marina & Boutique Resort from all evil spirit and watch over all their guests.
We also made a few videos especially when we painted her. If you want to see all the videos we made, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqAcUr42vzwnw-N1UIz5Hs–cfrpnF1Ha