The tail and the Cat
I make all of my tails myself and every one of them is work of art. But they are also very hard to create and very time consuming. Putting together the base will take you max three days but then the real challenge begins: sewing on the sequins. For most people it’s a very annoying and neverending process, even I have had moments where I’ve had it but then again, I mostly just really enjoyed this part. You see the tail evolving before your very eyes, and if you sew one sequin or two in the wrong place, no one will ever know. You have to practice patience and bear with it. And eventually, your hard work will be rewarded.
But enough of that, if you’d like a little bit more info on how I make my tails, go check out the FAQ’s page, what I wanted to talk to you about are the stories behind the tails.
The first tail I ever made, was back in 2004, together with my mom. I tried making my own monofin but didn’t have any experience so obviously, what I made didn’t work and snapped in half. After that I bought a Finis Competitor that I cut, using a pair of scissors, to get the shape I wanted. The tail was made out of grey neoprene, laminated sheets to elongate the fluke (yes, I had to have a big fluke from the start) and fins made out of a thin fabric. I used textile paint to paint on the scales and tadaa, first tail was a done deal. During the proces my cat Sienna, a Russian Blue, got very curious and decided to hang around to check everything out. She was with me EVERY time I was working on that tail, so, in her honor, the tail got dubbed the Russian Blue.
I did my first gigs in this tail and liked it very much but felt like it wasn’t good enough, not realistic enough. I began to browse the internet and soon came across the shell shaped sequins that changed my Mermaid life. I decided to give the Russian Blue an update and a year later I had finished my first sequin tail. This tail got a third update after I found the notorious colored, sparkly vinyl, that became my trademark.
Pretty in Pink
The second tail I created, was The Princess. I chose pink because it was a color that I didn’t see on tails back then, when I started discovering there were other mermaids out there. Also, this tail was perfect for meet & greets and performances for children, who doesn’t love a pink mermaid? After having learned a lot from making my first tail this one took a lot less time to finish. This one was my favorite for a long time, I loved how the mix of the white fabric and the clear vinyl gave the tail a magical flow whilst swimming.
The third tail was one I created on request of a soccer team that wanted to hire me for several events and it had to be in their colors. My mom was helping me and suggested to sew in the zipper upside down so it wouldn’t slide open while i was swimming. This, turned out to be a VERY good idea, because my previous tails all had that problem of the zipper sliding down if there wasn’t anything attached to knot it around a hook or something. This tail I haven’t used that often because I was only allowed to use it for the soccer team’s events.
Go big or go home
I never stop trying to get better in what I do, and that also counts for my tails. When I went to my favorite, local fabric store to fill up on supplies I came across that one thing that a lot of people know me for. Colored, thick glittery vinyl. It was like an ephiphany. I was ecstatic, bought the lot of it and immediatley got inspired. I drew out my design and picked my colors. Now this tail though, was a real challenge. Because of the vinyl being so thick, the sewing machine was having a hard time putting the vinyl and neoprene together. Countless needles broke but in the end we found a way to make it work (the sewing machine was in need of repair after this though). Sewing the sequins through the vinyl was the next issue. Again, because of the thickness, it was very hard and there were times my fingers were bleeding. Oh yeah, this baby was gonna make me work for it. With this tail, I also tried a different sewing technique, instead of sewing the sequins horizontally, I sewed them on vertically. This, I liked better, the pattern looked more random and yet more natural. Sunset was born. This was my signature tail and I loved her very dearly, unfortunately after almost 3 years of heavy use, she was beyond repair and I had to retire her.
The Dark Side
I’ve always seen myself more of a Siren (which means binder or entangler), then a Mermaid. And yes, I know that the Siren is actually a creature that’s half women half bird but still, they have always been related with mermaids. I love the alluring yet dangerous side of this mythical creature and I wanted my next tail to reflect just that, combined with my love for large, flowy flukes. I wanted to try and make the biggest one I could possibly create, yet wanted it to remain functional. Choosing the colors was hard, I didn’t want my the tail to be too dark because it wouldn’t be photographically interesting to shoot, and it would dissapear when you’re swimming in the ocean. So I decided to add touches of turqoise and, to honor my retired Sunset, gold. I hated this tail! Truly! When I started working on it, everything felt wrong, I didn’t like what I was doing, hated the pattern, the colors, it didn’t feel like me… at first. It wasn’t very motivating for me to work on something that I didn’t like, only when I got past my hip fins, I actually started to like what I was making. And when she was finished and I took her in the water for her first shoot, it all came together. Yes, I love this tail. She’s hard to swim in, I’ll admit, but I’m a a good swimmer, if I do say so myself and have experience with these kinds of tails (since this is the 5th one I made so far). During this tailmaking process I learned a lot about myself and, quess what, I had another cat keeping me company. My Scottish Fold, Neptune, was as curious as Sienna was when I was creating my new baby, and therefore I decided to name my latest tail after him.
Recently my colleague Lexie Mermaid and I launched our brand new tail making company Odycea Studios. We sell custom made hybrid tails, accessories, merchandise and more.