I started with a drawing I had
in my sketchbook and made a
copy the size I wanted the
piece to be, slightly larger
than the sketch.
Cut a paper pattern for the
basic wooden body.
I had some pieces of flat
polished stone that I really
wanted to use as the tail, so I
decided to drill the holes for
mounting those first. If they
broke then I could go ahead
and cry and drop the whole
idea before I committed any
more time or materials.
The holes drilled fine, so I cut
the body out of cherry.
Got to have good
eyes! I hammer shaped
copper circles and
played with different
things for the pupils.
Here I'm trying on
some rounds of blue
glass.
Maybe....but these little
millefiore bits are much
more interesting.
Each eye gets about 5
layers of high fire enamel to
make the textured surface
pop. I also polished up a
couple of WW2 brass coat
buttons to use for the iris.
Next, I cut and textured  
two pieces out of brass
that go under where the
tail fins will attach.
And back to the eye work.
Nothing will be attached to the
wooden base until most all the
pieces are formed.
There are many ways I could have formed an easier mouth, but I
liked this piece of bronze stock for its color. This was a solid ring I
cut in half and began carving into lips. Fish have lips..right?
Lips in process and eye
accessories being pierced and
textured.
My apologies, no pics for
these steps. This is a folded
leather section glued to the
top part and nailed down with
brass and copper tacks. I also
added a brass support on the
back to affix the stone tail fins.
I decided at this point to go
ahead and attach these pieces
as their placement would
determine the size of some of
the other bits.
After trying a variety of things I didn't like, I cut and formed
a piece of thin copper for each side to cover the raw
leather edge, and glued them in place with the vise holding
them tight.
Copper edge secured, along with a repurposed nickel shoe
toe I used as the headpiece. A fitting for the eyes and lips
meant a bit of carving on the wood to make the lips fit well.
I selected a nice hefty brick sized piece of granite for the base and bent the base rod to conform to
the underside of the wood.
Hammered heavy copper wire served well as supports for the
side fins. The fins themselves were made from some found
metal speaker covers. The perf metal gives it a really nice look!
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Checking the look and fit.
I trimmed down the speaker
covers to fit the wire supports
and attached them with ever so
tiny rivets ( I try to use glue as
little as possible ) and check
them for fit on the gills(?).
Three of the lesser fins I wanted to make out of carved bone. It has a very warm feeling to it. I
attached paper patterns to each piece and first cut them with my jeweler's saw, then used a variety
of dremel bits to carve them into shape. Do this with a mask in a well ventilated area! Even so, my
studio smelled like a dentist office for a week.
Lips attached.                                     Sneak preview.                                        Eyes attached.
These decorative parts are
also cut from brass sheet with
a jeweler's saw.