Dragons are possibly the most interesting and intricate aspect of my work.
They demand a total commitment of time and concentration and as I now do them only on commission, each one is quite different from the rest. There is a infinite variety of dragons that can be made and I am constantly intrigued at the work of other far more talented craftspeople than I.
With the particular type of casting that I do, I am able to achieve a high degree of detail which may sometimes give me a slight edge on the competition.
As they are a mythical beast all types of dragons are as feasible and valid as the next.
I have made tiny dragon earrings in gold to dragons that are a metre in length [ see above ] and creatures that are freestanding to others that perch upon great bases of natural wood.
I wrote a tale of a young dragon many years ago.
Dragons have been created in every conceivable type of material as we have all seen but my first choice is bronze. I know fairly well how to get it to do what I want with some notable exceptions !
The smaller dragons are usually cast in pieces, the body and the head and neck in one complete section, the tail ( which I tend to make extremely long, unraveled can reach to a metre in length ) in several lengths and the all-important wings can be cast in any number of sections.
I generally cast each wing in 5-7 pieces with a very thin cross section (down to .6mm in some places) This gives the wings the strong impression of being lifelike as I avoid the trap of making the wings clumsy and clunky. I also texture them in such a manner as to create the impression of being porous and tattered which gives out a sensation of being light and insubstantial.
After I have cleaned up each of the wing sections and got them to fit together as tightly as possible, I solder each section together using a minimum of solder so as to not cover and ruin the texture.
I have to then use the various burrs etc to recreate the textures over the joints. This is vital as I have to hide the joints from view.
The body and tail is a straight forward operation of soldering ensuring that the sections fit together as accurately as they did when they were wax. This sometimes is not easy as the piece may have warped slightly in the casting process but with judicious use of a vice and various types of hammers and brute force, the bronze is tamed.
I like to mount the dragons on wood bases, which has an endless variety of shapes available. I mould the wax to the position I require on the wood.
With this I have to keep in mind that whatever shape I come up with, it has to be cast and it also has to be able to slide on and off the irregular shape quite a number of times as I slowly get the dragon to sit tightly.
I always use the claws to grip and hold the dragon by pressing them into the wood as would a real beast if it was perched on a crag watching for prey to come by.
I like to create the impression of the dragon about to launch itself into the air so I infuse a sense of great tension in the work by having the wings raised and looped, the head at an acute angle, the body with prominent muscle structure bunched and close to the ground and the claws tightly gripping and spread, as can be seen in the first photo at the top of this page.
The Nazgul was one of the last of the large dragons that I have done.
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