At Encompassing Designs we're mermaid crazy. I've designed several patterns over the years and don't plan to stop anytime soon. Mermaid rugs are pure fantasy, allowing us to explore our artistic side to showcase a wide range of colour palettes with no wrong or right to the decision.
I have two large mermaid pieces; one in the shop and an even larger beauty in my upstairs bathroom. I have a half wall separating the room from the back staircase and I knew as soon as I saw her in a chandlers tent at the Wooden Boat Festival she was perfect to recline on the wall. Her presence adds mystique and atmosphere to the room and she's amazingly done, antiqued to perfection to appear 100 years old. Carved and then partially painted as if worn from years of sea winds and salt air, she was rubbed down with shoe polish and then buried in the ground to add to the aged patina. She's a real beauty and her eyes follow you about the room. Sometimes when I'm washing my hands at the sink and glance in the mirror her reflection gives me a start. I love everything about her and plan to work her into a rug pattern somewhere down the road.
The mermaid in my shop is a facsimile of a maidenhead of a great ship. She's bare chested and voluptuous; indicative of woman of the time. The figurehead embodied the spirit of a ship and was originally believed to placate the gods of the sea and ensure a safe voyage. Almost every prow had a carved figure looking down at the waves, and the variety was immense. Today's figureheads are all reproductions of originals in museums and maritime collections and are an evocative and decorative reminder of the bygone days of sailing ships.
Over the years there have been many comments....I'm told I should stick pasties on her chest, paint the nipples to give the breasts a bit more life and other suggestions too rude to mention. One time I was a bit creeped out when an older man, almost hyperventilating with excitement asked to purchase her. He was insistent that everything is for sale and to name my price. I could tell by his reaction that he was more than enthralled by her and a female customer in the shop at the time saw it as well. We shared a look between us as I told the man that she was very expensive and he probably couldn't afford her but he thought she was divine and well worth any price. He asked one more time to buy her and I politely turned him down and by this point I just wanted him to leave as it was becoming rather uncomfortable. It was the way he stared up at her and licked his lips. The man left and the woman customer said "It's not like she has the anatomy of a blow up doll." It was a side splitting comment and we laughed like fools, because I had been thinking the same thought. Anyway, never a dull moment in the shop!
So a couple came through the door last week and I overheard a conversation that wasn't mean for my ears but being in close proximity at the work desk, it couldn't be helped. I suppose if you expect a semblance of privacy you should do such things in private, not in public or in front of someone who likes to write about incidents and happenings. They weren't rug hookers, just browsing tourists having at look at all the shops in town. Personally I found it heartwarming that a couple in their middle to late seventies could be that playful with one another after all these years, but maybe they were newlyweds and still reeling from endorphins. I wasn't about to ask. I'll try to capture the essence of the moment although a video would do a better job. It's one of those things were actions speak louder than words but I'll do my best to describe the pelvic, hip grinding motions. I was torn between thinking it was sweet for their ages and wanting to giggle.
So the couple came in and the woman went directly to the kit display tree. Hubby, in tow spied the mermaid that hangs over that area and although I couldn't see his face I imagined there was a twinkle in his eye to match the pep in his step as he sidled up next to his wife who was fully engrossed in the assortment. I heard him say in a hushed tone, "Can I have one of those?" and as he said the words his hips trust forward and he touched the front of his pelvis to the side of her hip, a quick thrust forward and up like a flasher in a park sort of stance.
The wife, now distracted from the kits said "What?" and he pointed up and said "Up there." and once again he did the pelvic thrusty thing. They seemed totally oblivious to my presence or else didn't care, but she looked up and saw the mermaid's hovering chest and as she looked he said again "Can I have one? and she replied with sparkle, "Don't be so foolish" and very playfully gave him a little shove." He laughed and so did she and then continued to check out the shop with him in tow. I usually engage customers with conversation but I kept my head down and focused on the pattern I was drawing, although I looked up to say "Have a nice day" as they were leaving the shop. The older man smiled and winked at me as he headed out the door.