Watch the process of building a full sized fiber dragon. I originally envisioned this sculpture in 1997 but was unable to find a path to construction. I revisited the idea in 2003 when I saw the actor James Marsters, whose high cheekbones and deep facial valleys gave his ‘Spike” character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer a very dragon-like face. Again, I was unable to decipher how to build my vision. In 2008, I spent about 2 months building small dragons (about 2 feet tall) but was never happy with the lack of definable scales and in frustration tossed the parts into a bin. Last year, I completed beaded ‘eyes’ that met my expectations. Magically, in about a second the entire piece came into focus.
Focus however, doesn’t get the piece built. It took another 2 months to find materials suitable for supporting the substructure. I experimented with 13 samples of mitered squares before deciding on my own design for the scales. I purchased 10 brands of sock yarns before deciding on Mountain Colors Handpaint Sock and Cascade Heritage Sock for the primary yarns.
Many thanks to husband Craig for his willingness to shop for building supplies, solder copper, cut PVC and teach me in the finer techniques of construction. Many thanks also to my daughter Kiah for taking up the home management tasks while I knit for 8-10 hours each day. Kudos to Kim Richard for her magic massage hands in keeping me limber enough for long hours of knitting, the use of her garage as a studio and her enthusiasm for photo-documentation.
Premier of Ice Dragon on Sept 25th, City of Englewood Civic Center (Library display) through Oct 27th at the Rocky Mountain Weavers’ Guild Annual Sale (Oct 25-27th at Englewood Civic Center). Followed by Handweavers Guild of Boulder Showcase Oct 31 through Nov 4th at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. Both events are free and open to the public
Ice Dragon is 6 feet in height with over 17 MILES of yarn hand-knit. Ice Dragon reflects the colors ‘felt’ in the coldest of days, deep blue and purple tones. He stands on a chunk of black ‘ice’ with roving added to the surface dressing for an iridescent and glittery finish. His name plate is fabricated in polymer clay and reads “Ice Dragon” in medieval rune symbols. lce Dragon is constructed with reptilian skeletal form, individual muscle groupings and elongated finger joints.
Feet: 3-toed neon claws with spring green scaled feet and lower legs Hands: 5 claws in bright teal, one holds a ice staff while the other grasps a lighted glass sphere with softly oscillating colors of light Head: mesmerizing beaded eyes with an elongated jaw. Head rotates as do the eyes. Chest: purple scales in the elongated reptilian body merging into the teal head and arms Back: raised spine supports the wings as the back ridge merges in color to the navy tones for the tail Tail: navy blue scales that change in color to the fan-like tail of teal two flat enlarged scales at the tip Wings: multi-tone stitch bones with blue mohair membrane over a copper wire frame with crochet beaded trim. Height: approximately six feet tall (including the base). Width: wingspan is 53 inches Weight: approximately 100 pounds Assembly: Breaks down into 10 pieces for easier transport.
Construction information: over 50 pieces of PVC tubing form his skeleton. Then I added a batting and felted wool substructure, lastly he is ‘skinned’ with the hand-knit yarn fiber squares (each individually sewn into position). Size 3 needles were used for the 600+ mitered squares, each edged with metallic finish size 6 glass beads in blue, green and purple tones.
Cost of materials is $1,300. Construction time was 9 months (8-15 hours per day and 7 day weeks). The rigorous timeline required me to sleep in several shifts each day so that I could knit in 2-3 hour shifts. Swelling in my hands, neck and shoulders were part of my daily routine.
Ice Dragon is for sale, price of $18,900 or 9 ounces of gold (currency of the realm). Paypal accepted. Local installation included. Outside of Colorado, additional charge for shipping.