Tale of a dragon

11개월 전

I’ve always felt well disposed towards dragons, even as a child. None of this Western angst as portrayed in so many Medieval paintings or the vehement hostility in so many tales of old involving dragons. One could say that I’m more aligned with the Eastern view of dragons, that of benevolence, wisdom and grace.

I’ve always found it remarkable that stories of dragons exist in the collective mythology and history of mankind. In Africa, South America and Australia we can find hints of giant serpents, (maybe with a couple of legs). In the Middle East there are tales of mythological beasts with scales and wings. Asia is full of dragon mythology as is Europe. North America (Illinois) houses the Piasa dragon and the original mural predated the arrival of any Europeans. There are also spectacular dragon pictographs of a mishibizhiw (known as the underwater panther with horns on its head and plates on the ridge of its back and tail) in Ontario. The list of dragons world wide is far too long and their tales would fill several thick tomes.

But one of the most interesting things to me, is that dinosaur fossil discoveries made in China 2000 years ago, were called Dragon bones. The word “Dinosaur” is very young, going back only to 1841 and coined by Sir Richard Owen. With the 2006 discovery of Dracorex hogsartsia in South Dakota, it’s entirely plausible that the worlds of dragons and dinosaurs might have been one and the same thing. Even if the former might have embellished the latter a bit.

This embellishment, this imbuing through fantasy, is something I love to explore when making dragons. The variations are endless. Here are some graphite drawings I’ve done of dragons:fullsizeoutput_17a0.jpeg

It’s a theme I love exploring in the three dimensional realm of precious metals as well. The idea for the Silver Dragon came from several influences; first the acrobatic flight of several bird species (Swallows, Birds of prey and Starling murmurations) and of course the world of animation. Specifically the fantastic dragon dance in Avatar: the Last Air Bender and the swirling flight of Haku in the brilliant Miyazaki film “Spirited Away”. I wanted to recreate that joy, that frenetic, powerful energy that can be found in the freedom of flight. To capture a moment in that flight that draws statis and movement into one, into a moment of suspended equilibrium of shape and form. A circle seemed most fitting to convey this. The drawing for the dragon was done freehand onto a thick plate of sterling silver (4mm).( I seldom sit and pre-draw my designs. I see it in my head and transfer it directly onto metal.) Sawing a design out of thick plate usually takes much longer, and one tends to go though more blades than one would like. But working with this thickness has its sculptural benefits. Shaping and deepening form through texture becomes very rewarding as it allows ample surface.

I wanted a serene expression on the dragon’s face, as if he entered into complete trust of his own skills and strength, complete trust of the air supporting him in that moment of curling his body into a circle and drawing in his wings. That moment of complete joy-filled tranquility and freedom…

The rest of the body was textured with a burr tip to simulate a crusted scale pattern, aside from the tail “fins”
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The wing was a different matter. I wanted to recreate a smooth and leathery surface on the wing membrane, such as one sees on bat wings. I also wanted the ridges of the wing “fingers” to really stand out, ending in talons. Initially, I thought I’d make it out of red deer antler. After I did a very rough shaping of the wing and held it to the dragon’s body, I saw that it just didn’t fit the overall design and feeling of the piece at all. So, on to sterling! (I might add that there is always value in exploring options, even if those options aren’t feasible in the end, they can be of worth. Many such explorations have led to nothing and many have led to new ideas and designs. But you’ll never know if you don’t explore.)
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The sterling silver domed wing turned out to be the exact material that brought the overall concept together in congruity. The metal also gave itself beautifully to allow the leathery membrane texture I had envisioned and was thick enough to accentuate the wing fingers to its full potential.
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The wing was then soldered onto the body of the dragon. The whole pendant was allowed to rest in pickling solution and then it was off to the polishing buff.
Even though the final piece is only 4.5 by 3.5 cm in size, it has nonetheless managed to convey the enormity and feeling of a dragon in flight.

You can find this piece and several other dragon pieces on my website: https://stefaniedonau.com/

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Hi stefaniedonau,

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Thank you so much!

I admit that I had never thought clearly about this ancient species, it is rare that there are still many debates about its existence. I think ... if there are fossils, there is history

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Thanks for your comment, iamsaray. I hope that all the scientific disciplines start engaging in more rigorous debate, because science is never settled. The recent discovery of a sauropod in China is dated to have existed 15 million years earlier than previously thought. Very exciting! Thank you for taking the time to read what I wrote. Best!

I love dragons too. The fact that every culture has stories about dragons to me means they actually did exist. I saw a mock documentary that explores the possibility that the way dragons could fly was by transforming the air they breathe into carbon, to make they lighter, which in turn would be how they spat fire. It was quite fascinating.

In my novel series, the dragons are benevolent creatures who try to help magical folk understand magic. They also see the future, a bonus of being celestial beings. I get why in myths and legends they'd be hunted, but I think they're just misunderstood creatures.

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Love your comment, binkypod. I also think that there's a lot to history that we either don't know because it hasn't been discovered yet, and that there are possibilities of parts of history that are suppressed . I also find it interesting that several dinosaur finds in recent decades, are going back to having the word "Dragon" in their names, such as Dracorex and then there is the recent Azhdarchidae (this word itself is Persian for serpentine dragon) species of pterosaur that was named "Cryodrakon boreas", or Frozen Dragon of the North. Thank you for taking the time to read what I wrote.

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I agree. I too believe history has been suppressed over time, and some of it was lost. Fossils are but a fragment of what once existed on this earth. I have no doubt that dragons were once real and maybe still exist somewhere in another dimensions, or hidden in caves, sleeping, waiting fo a time to exist again among humans.

I didn't know that dragons were 'present' everywhere in the world. I'm from Europe but I also have more Eastern look at them.

I like your art. It's unique and shows your deep passion for this topic.

Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day!

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It's quite fascinating, isn't it? Thank you for your lovely words, delishtreats, and for taking the time to read what I wrote and leave such an inspiring comment. Wishing you a lovely day as well.

Congratulations @stefanideonau, your post has been featured in the latest Curie Author Showcase.
On behalf of @curie I thank you for your time and for creating amazing content. Keep up the good work!
Sincerely,
Ivan (@curie curator)

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What a great surprise! I am honestly thrilled at being featured in the Curie Author Showcase. Thank you ever so much, Ivan; not only for the mention but also for taking the time to read what I wrote and appreciating it.
Warm regards
Stefanie

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I really hope we will see more of your work in the future and more often! :)

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Thank you kindly, Ivan. I'll do my best.


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