A Mermaid’s Tale

As Editor of the Folk Harp Journal I was sent the exquisite book by Marianne McShane, Rónán and the Mermaid: A Tale of Old Ireland. (You should go get it!) We worked together to incorporate a story about her book into the Fall 2020 issue of the FHJ.

The bulk of the work happened in July and my community book challenge theme for this month was SEA. My favorite topic.

While I was working with her I realized I had a lot of mermaid imagery in my life. However, in her tale it is the boy and not the mermaid that plays the harp. But in my world all mermaids play the harp. She just didn’t mention that truism in her story. All of this led me to think about making a book to honor her book. And she has been generous appreciating all the liberties I took with her beautiful book.

Since I started with so many diverse source materials, I decided to turn all the images B&W and color them using felt markers and water on thick handmade paper since I didn’t have any watercolors. And, as always, plans were made, lessons were learned, and I received further evidence about where I am in the artist-engineer spectrum.

Thanks to Sam Divinia and Grace Divinia who gave me a birthday card I treasure that was used in his project. I also used sketches by great harpists, Sue Richards and Becky Szymenski. Thank you!

To see a video of the book in action, click here(Youtube Link). Lastly, I added the title on the spine A Mermaid’s Tale (no photo but it needed that last finishing touch).

Here are a couple images from Marianne’s original book…. again, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The tale is wonderful and the beautiful illustrations are by Jodi Solano.

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