Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dragons, Dragons, Everywhere!!!

Whew, I've been so busy, but having fun, so pardon me for not keeping up my end of the blog (I never could keep a diary regularly, either, so guess I shouldn't be terribly surprised, LOL).

So, you may ask, what have I been having so much fun with?  Well. . . first of all, you may (or may not) remember that in my last post I mentioned the arthritis in my hands was giving me fits with caning.  I finally, regretfully decided that I will definitely have to give up caning, at least for now.  Between my back injury, shoulders, wrists and thumbs I just can't do the reducing anymore and it has gotten to the point that I dread even sitting down at my clay table because I know how much it is going to hurt.  So, I started some sculptures.  I decided to start with Dragons.  As many of you know, even before I married and became a Castle, I collected and enjoyed all things "Fantasy" from sand castles to dragons to fairies.  I have tried to sculpt dragons before, but could never get quite the look that was the kind of dragon I wanted to create.  Although they are beautiful, I didn't want to create mean, horrific dragons, but didn't want cartoon (Pete's Dragon) type dragons either, but I couldn't picture quite what I "see" a dragon as looking like (just Google Dragon pictures and see the variety, LOL).

I have made a couple of little dragons in the past and they were cute, but not quite right.

I still had lots of canes to make, so I gave up on Dragons and went back to caning.  You've all heard my frustration with making "faces" on people type sculptures, so we won't go there again, yet.

So I knew I wanted to make some dragons and I knew I needed someplace to start and would need some help.  Then I came across Birdy Haywood, on FaceBook.    and followed her link to her webpage, and then found that she has instructional project sheets and even better yet, a DVD on making Dragons .  So I ordered it.  Although this DVD is only in UK PAL format (and won't play on my DVD player) it plays just fine on my computer.  I just can't say enough good things about Birdy and this DVD and Birdy's teaching methods.  She is so calm and encouraging and just "gives" the knowledge that you can DO IT, and I did.

First I watched the DVD all the way through. Then I did the practice parts Birdy suggested (several heads, and the eyes).  Then I created my first Dragon:  the green one in this pair:  I watched a section of the DVD and then did that part of the Dragon.  Watched the next section and did that part, etc.  His eyes aren't quite right, and his wings are from an extra piece of cane I happened to have around, but otherwise I was pretty pleased.

Then, I felt the green guy really wanted a friend to love, so I created the pinkish one to go along with him.  Again, the eyes aren't quite right, I wanted a sleepy, calm, relaxed look and instead she looks worried, to me.  Here they are from a couple other angles, with a close up of the heads:

I chose to do my "muzzles" slightly
differently than Birdy's, but finally
 found the shape and look I was searching for to make them "my own".
  Mr. C is absolutely enthralled with them and thinks I should start selling them, but I told him I need a bit more practice first, LOL.  His opinion still really made me feel good though.  We were talking about these two dragons and I told him what I felt their faults were and how difficult I find it to name things I make, and said, "Even so, I'm 'pickled tink', meaning tickled pink or pleased, with them."  He started laughing and said, "Pickled Tink?  You just named them, 'Tickle and Pink'".  So, I present to you, "Tickle and Pink", my first two dragons.  This sculpture is a big bigger than my spread out hand, a total of about 6 1/2" wide, 6" deep, and 5 1/4" tall.  Each Dragon, if spread out would be about 11" from tip of tail to top of head, but since they are curled around each other seem smaller.

I wanted to go a bit smaller though, so next I created this little cutie:  This one was "designed to be a little girl; a teenager to go with Pickle and Tink", but HE had other ideas, and turned out to be a boy.  No, don't ask me how that happens, it appears that Dragons have a minds of their own and I was apparently mistaken and he was indeed a HE and not a SHE (just look at that proud ruff, only the "boys" have those, LOL).  Anyway, I refined the muzzle a bit more as well as refined his wings a bit, and again I was happy.

This little guy has been busy out exploring nature and if you'll look closely you'll see he is quite fascinated with what he found in his hands (front feet?).

Due to his wonderful find, Mr. C has christened him "Flutterbye".

I just love the expression on his face and his eyes; he looks so surprised.  It was just the perfect look.  

I really liked his size, he easily sits on my palm and is about 8" tip of tail to top of head if stretched out.  The way he is posed he is about 4" on the bottom and about 4 1/4" tall.

For the next one I just decided to use up some bits and pieces of canes I had sitting around.  Again, this one turned into a little boy, but this time with spikes from the top of his head to the tip of his tail.

He's a bit wild looking, some say a bit retro, perhaps "an old hippie" left over from the 1970s, LOL.  He is a bit bright and wild looking and every color or hue of the rainbow, which earned him his name of Sir Hue (again thanks to Mr. C).

He's busy with a special bauble/jewel he found stuck in these rocks.  He seems quite fascinated and I suspect this will eventually make its way back to his hoard of jewels and gold.  Sir Hue is about the same size as Flutterbye, although with the rock pile the total sculpture is a bit bigger, about 5" at the base.

Yes, making this particular type of dragon does still involve some caning, for the "scales, wings, and ears" but not the huge canes I previously made for resale.  These canes start out about the size of a quarter and don't get much bigger than that after several recombinations and since they are reduced as they are put together they stay soft and pliable.

One of the best things about making these dragons is that they were all made almost entirely from recycled clay.  Only white, black, and the translucent for the claws were new packages of clay.  I'm also excited that I can use some of the special effects clays with these.  Pearl and glitter clay don't work well for caning, as the mica particles in them cause drag and distortion in the slices when slicing them, but for sculptures, any of the clays can be used.  Hooray!!!

Well, this is probably long enough, and I have another one to write about our recent trip.  I hope you enjoyed my first "successful" foray into sculpting and hope you'll become one of my followers so you can follow along on my journey into sculpting with Polymer Clay.  Smiles, S

P.S.  I almost forgot, I had a commission for a couple bulldog sculptures, from a "cartoonish" photo, which I completed to my satisfaction (and theirs).  It's the first dogs I've done in Polymer Clay and I was quite pleased.

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