I’d like to introduce you all to my new pet, Drags. He’s completely housebroken, will never dig up the back yard, hork a hairball in the middle of the hallway, or jump on your chest at 3am because he wants his food bowl filled.
I made a dragon out of chainmaille, and I’m bouncing between extremely pleased with myself, and disgusted with the amateurish results.
See – I look at the form, and see the flaws. The back legs stick out JUUUUUST a bit too much. The top-most scale likes to stick straight up, giving the guy an almost comical look. He’s got a little bit of mutt and horse in him – I can see the alternate animal forms clearly.
the feet…are. not. claws. Instead, he has cloven hooves.
And…really. If he’s gonna be a DRAGON – he needs wings.
But I also look at the form, and see something wonderful. The first time I’ve made an extremely complex 3D sculpture out of rings.
Without a tutorial.
He stands on his own. His neck and body hold their shape. He’s much more than a tube of interconnected bits which lay quiescent on a surface until you pick them up and arrange them with your hands.
The scary part? Even though he’s a prototype with a multitude of errors in his construction – I’ve got friends at work who swear up and down they NEED one …. NAOW.
I do geek well. One of my favorite geek-obsessions is the dragon. It doesn’t matter if the form is European or Chinese – Fantasy or Tribal – I love ’em all.
I’m not alone. I’ve seen a bunch of variations of dragons in maille since I took up pliers and started weaving rings…and what I’ve seen are variations on the same tutorial pattern out there on both the M.A.I.L. website and for sale at The Ring Lord. Almost all the maille dragons I’ve seen images of on the web are unwired, meaning they flop about like any other chainmaille chain. Most are completely snake-like without any limbs, although a few people have added stubby little sub-chains to suggest them. I think I’ve seen one or two where the creators added a fan of scales to suggest wings…but nothing really SCREAMS dragon.
So I did my own thing.
I posted pictures of his construction on Facebook, of course – and everyone there seemed to enjoy his emergence. So…with that in mind…I’m sharing here how my first boyo came together:
I started with 2 identical lengths of Full Persian 6 in 1 (FP). I attached the two together with a modified European 4 in 1 (E4-1) for the belly, and bound up the top half with shiny silver scales.
THAT…was the easy part. A tube with scales.
The head – is a mess of weirdness. Small patches of E6-1, box, the same eye construction I used for the face of the Dudes, and various random rings to stitch the piece together and attach to the body. As I was building the head, I was also taking some good notes. I should be able to duplicate the head at will.
Once I had the head attached to the body, I threaded a length of copper wire through both the head and the body. Secured it at the mouth and ass. No floppy dragons here – he’s gonna be posable.
The tail is a simple length of FP again, with some scales at the tip. At this point, I haven’t wired the tail, but I’m considering it for future builds.
The legs were tricky.
First, I spent a couple of hours playing with the cats (so they wouldn’t suspect I was staring at them) – because I needed to see actual legs -in action- on a 4 legged animal. I wanted to know how they were attached. How they were jointed. How they flexed and flowed and were used for work and play.
I spent additional hours looking at images other people had drawn of dragon legs…but it wasn’t as much fun as playing with the furballs.
Slowly, the bends in the limbs started to form. The weave I used for the legs is a fairly simple 4-ring bead capture…with some additional ring-weirdness at the joints. I strung additional wire through the beads (and, thus, through the legs) for stability. The guy can’t stand on his own with weak legs!
I think I tore off the front legs 3 times.
Now came the toes. I tried several variations of wire-form feet that died on the craft table before ever coming in contact with Drags, and ended up with stubby toes with the beads shown. I am still working on proper clawed appendages for the dragon at this point.
His brothers…WILL…have claws.
Don’t worry – the design is still in various stages of modification. Horns, claws & wings are all ideas at this point…as is a full Chinese style dragon.
Stay tuned for more dragon work!