A Selchie is Reunited with Her Skin by draigathar
This sculpture was inspired by an old Orkney folktale. Selchies are seal-people who swim in the ocean as seals but can shed their seal skins and take human form to walk on land. The skin is the magical part, so if the selchie loses it s/he is trapped in human form. One story tells of a man who came upon a group of selchie maids dancing on the beach. He crept up near them and stumbled upon their skins, hidden in the rocks. Just as he took one of them and rolled it up tight under his arm, the selchies spotted him. He scrambled away and the selchies dashed for their skins, turning back into seals and splashing away into the ocean. The selchie whose skin he stole begged him to return it so she could return with her friends, but the man kept it. He brought the selchie woman back to his home and made her his wife. She gave him several children and raised them well, but always she longed to return to the sea. One day, her daughter happened to find the selchie's skin hidden away in a trunk. Not knowing what it was, she took it to her mother and showed it to her, proud of her find. The selchie took the skin and returned to the ocean leaving her human family behind forever, but she always caught fish and left them on the beach so that her children would never go hungry. In this sculpture, I tried to capture that moment when the daughter brings the seal skin to her selchie mother. Both selchie and daughter have cloth bodies over wire armatures, with hard sculpted head, hands, and feet (some polymer clay and some epoxy modeling compound) and fabric and leather clothing.