Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Tale of My Tail

It all began one hot spring day at the Renaissance Faire, I was introduced to a fiery old man with a wit and sense of humor that is sure to keep anyone on their toes.  Our conversation was fun and light hearted, we parted ways and would wave whenever I would pass by the booth he was working with. Fast forward several years to 2012, another fiery old man enters my booth, a lot of time has passed and it has changed us both, but a few minutes into our conversation we both remembered that season of faire.  
First night with Thom, he let me
 wear Ashley's tail! I was excited and so
nervous, Ashley was top mermaid to me
so this was a high honor! 
We spent hours catching up and before I knew, my husband and I were visiting the home of the great and wonderful Thom Shouse!!

<3 Thom and I <3
So much excitement, so many “fan-girl” moments that I try to keep hidden, so many tears, both happy and sad, Thom and I have unique relationship, a father/daughter slash comrades /emotional artists bond.  From the day I stepped foot into his home, I knew I was home and I would do anything for this man and his family.

Turns out, Thom felt the same way about me and mine and asked me to be part of the Mermaid Rentals Pod, I began swim training almost immediately and began planning my new career as a professional mermaid.

Working for Thom meant I got to wear a lot of different tails and learn how to care for, repair, and paint tails. I have worn tails that have been seen on Animal Planet, Comedy Central, and even the TV show Charmed. The most famous tail I have worn to date! The gold “Charmed Tail” was created for an episode of, you guessed it, Charmed for actress Alyssa Milano. Who it turns out doesn't swim and doesn't really like water… The Charmed Tail came into my care and I have worn her ever since, proudly at all the events Thom and I do together.
The Charmed Tail, Dana Point 2013

Despite my best efforts the tail is old and worn and Thom began talking about retiring her, but not until I had a tail of my own. Well as mermaids often find out tails are expensive and I had to go with what I could afford.

My Mother shelled out the cash to pay for a “silicone” tail so I could begin booking regular parties/gigs to help fund the tail I really wanted from Thom.

Re-gluing Scales and
patching holes...
While the white tail was never finished to my specifications and not to the standards that I was used to with Thom’s tails, it had one redeeming quality, it looked incredible on camera! Every time I put on the white tail the scales would loosen and holes would begin to appear in the "skin", the fluke was never fully cured and was never put together properly and if experience taught me anything this is not a Dragon Skin Silicone Tail with a Neoprene lining as advertised.
Re-gluing the Fluke...Again!

It is home improvement store silicone and neoprine, which is tiring and stretching, making the tail bigger than its original size. Learn from my mistakes, research you tail makers, their material, and talk to previous customers.  I used the knowledge from Thom in learning tail repair in order to keep the white tail together and just kept on swimming.

January 2014, my Mom once again, presents me with a gift so great all I can do is cry. She made a down payment on a Thom Tail….I cannot believe it, this is happening? Oh my god, this is really happening!
 For the past 8 months I have been waiting, watching, and wondering. This is my adventure with Thom, Tails, and the Mer-Family who made it all possible. 

Before leaving for NCMerfest, a mermaid convention being held in North Carolina in January, Thom had already cast the fluke portion of my tail, he and my Mom had been plotting this for a few months, and on the way home from North Carolina we discussed casting the body.  We talked lots of options, styles, colors, and then Thom says to me, How about the Splash Scales? ...Excuse me? You want to cast a tail for me using the Splash scales….HOLY FREAKING COW! (It is really hard to keep “fan-girl” moments to a minimum in a crowded airplane!) 
Mermaid Ashley working on my tail.

But, before we landed in LA, we had it all planned out and Thom and Ashley (My sister Mermaid) would begin casting my tail soon! I would get pictures and emails with updates and I sketched constantly, trying to find the right colors and pattern.

Drying in the molds!

Every time I went to Thom’s, I had to fondle the pieces of tail that were out of the mold. The call came all too quickly for me, the tail skins were finished and ready to be assembled and I was still sketching and coloring!
Mermaid Fruit Roll Up! 

Thom reassured me that there was still time and that it would all come together and we picked a weekend to start fitting and assembling.  My Husband and I headed over one evening, I mostly giggled and played around in my tail skins and then we got down to business!
First fitting 

The first fitting is the easiest part, the cutting is the scariest part and second fitting is even more nerve racking. It’s time to find out if you measured and cut properly… so nervous! Thank god I have friends who do Math, because I don’t trust my math skills and the tail body fit perfectly, thank you Crystal!
Second Fitting and Fluke Placement

Then we fit, marked, cut and secured the fluke with a Rapid Monofin snug inside the tail body. This was it the moment of truth, the tail was complete and it fit!

 Now it was bath time for my naked, dirty tail. We washed the tail down and let her air dry in the warm beach air. As the tail dried, Thom taught me some of the finer points to mixing paint and pigment, combining colors and using primers. The hardest thing to remember was which jar of cleaner to put the used brushes in! Fortunately, I had finally picked which one of my sketches was going to be my jumping point for painting the tail.
All the paint and test strips!

I had been looking at lot of different sea creatures for inspiration and looking closely at the SPLASH Tail. I knew I wanted to keep some of the gold from the Charmed Tail and I wanted the markings to mimic the markings on the SPLASH tail.  I settled on a design I had created using the Octopus from adult to juvenile as inspiration. Everyone agreed that the octopus tail design was made for me!
My original stretch 

Together Thom and I put on the primmer and then he let me lose… gulp, ok painting skills don’t let me down now. I will admit, I was so nervous to put brush to tail I pranced around and whined a little before really getting into it. It took two days to paint the entire tail all by hand with a little help from the Mer-family!
Blocking colors for the base coat.

Layer by Layer, the colors and pattern started to come together, I kept telling myself not to get discouraged, it wasn't finished. It’s so hard to be objective, when you are your own worst critic. I was unsure of my skills with this new kind of paint and I was so worried it would be ugly or weird looking or markings wouldn't match up, AH!
Day Two: Painting the Fluke

But once I settled into it and just let the paint and brush work for me and listened to Thom’s stories and memories, it all flowed. I was still scared by day two, but I knew it would be ok.  On day two my Husband came with me to spend the day with Thom and I, he brought his giant didgeridoo and serenaded us while I painted!
<3 Torleif, my Landsmen <3

 By midafternoon, I had my husband painting alongside me as we layered the colors on the fluke and before the night was out, I was honored to have Thom’s wife, Susan or Mom as we call her, lend a helping hand with the final clear coat.
Torleif putting on the final wash of copper!

All in all I am honored to have the Mermaid Rentals’ core people; Thom, Susan and Ashley help bring my tail to life. I am deeply grateful to Crystal and Emmalee for helping with the measuring and math skills and so happy to have shared this experience with my little sister Mermaid Alex and her family who came by to help and support me and to Merman Christian who I gossiped with, teased and asked advice of during this entire process. I cannot say Thank You enough or in too many ways to my husband and my Mom, for making my dreams a reality, I would be nothing it was not for them.  And can I just say to all of my internet friends, FINS, and supporters, you never stop continuing to amaze me! I am overjoyed with the outpouring of love, support, friendship, and joy that you bring to me each and every day, I smile often and laugh more because of all of you…..THANK YOU, EVERYONE EVERY WHERE! 

Meridian Mer-Gyver, 2014
Love, Peace, & Mermaids,Meridian Mer-Gyver

Check back with me for more blogs, photos, and adventure! Leave a comment, stay connected and be sure to follow Meridian Mer-Gyver at:Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/meridian.mergyverTwitter:https://twitter.com/MeridianMerGyve


  1. Such a heartwarming fairy tale story come to life! so happy for you dear, sincerely from the bottom of my heart Im truly happy for you in every aspect of your wonderful life.... Bless your family and Landsman for their support and love and Bless you Thom Shouse for making her dream as well as other mermaids around the world come true! <3

  2. Your tail is beautiful! I don't think I will ever be able to afford a tail of my own, but I love seeing the beautiful ones my friends get to wear! :)

  3. Thank you so much Becky! I am running a tail giveway, you can check out the rules and how to enter here: http://meridianmer-gyver.blogspot.com/2015/05/part-of-our-world-tail-contest.html Good Luck!