These clay and paper mermaids were done by Robin, my daughter, about eight and nine years ago. I have always cherished them because over and above their sentimental value to me, it is their sheer feistiness which is so charming and poignant.

In the fairy tale of The Little Mermaid one gets a sense of the price she pays to be with the groundling prince where she chooses to leave the watery realm and cause her fish like tail to split so that she gets ‘groundling legs’. (This causes acute pain with every step she takes and for some forlorn notion of love she is willing to suffer this and to leave her sisters underwater.

The soil and grass mermaid at the bottom of the picture is actually an aerial art work from a pair of nest building starlings who dropped it on my table and I recognized the form and went looking for my clay women. These are solid little women sitting on the earth, feeling as though they are in command of their bodies.