lionfish setset, photo by Tempus Fugit Design with model Alan Malpass

We have just completed the Lionfish commission, in process since the end of December. There are two sets, one for mermaid Eden Sirene, and one for merman Christomer Starfish, based on the beautiful, long-fronded, stripey lionfish.

Christomer is a favorite customer who has commissioned some of our best pieces over the last 4 years. This project came about when he was approached by Reef.org, an environmental organization working for ocean conservation. They have a campaign to eliminate the lionfish from the Caribbean and Atlantic, where it is an invasive species that out-competes the native fish. Chris and his partner in fins will wear the costumes at educational events, fishing derbies and celebrity chef galas. Learn more about the campaign here.

This 12 piece project took longer to make than any we’ve done before: 2 headdresses, 2 sets of bracers, bra and pauldrons, vest and greaves.


lionfish set, photo by Tempus Fugit Design, model Alan Malpass

The vest was the largest piece and is made up of 18 separate panels carefully designed to move together gracefully and comfortably as the body moves. It laces up the sides and buttons up the front. Being Organic Armor the spines and fronds only look dangerous, they are soft enough to bend if worn on a crowded dance floor!

Take note of that fabulous cameo in the center of the back. IMG_1569It’s an original sculpture of course, cast in an oogoo mold. The paint job is different than Paul’s usual work, but utilized the dry brush technique he is so good at, along with layers of glaze.


lionfish set, female version

Eden’s set was constructed and painted in the same way. She said wearing it made her feel wild!

They both have dramatic headdresses with 20+ spines and fronds, and crazy eyes. It is a dangerous, otherworldly animal to be impersonating. We love depicting the combination of fierce and elegant.

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Eden Sirene in her wild lionfish set, photo by Chris Chandler

Our pals Rodney from Tempus Fugit Design and Alan Malpass, local dancer and acrobat, jumped in at the last minute to help us get these great pictures before we shipped off the second set.

Hopefully this summer we will get some pictures of the two merfolk together in their lionfish garb, along with their matching tails from the FinFolk (who are now living in Asheville, hooray for mountain mermaids!).


lionfish set, photo by Tempus Fugit Design with model Alan Malpass