Good morrow curious travellers!
“This has no digestive system, and gets no food but from the fire, in which it constantly renews its scaley skin.”
In early China fabric woven from ‘salamander hair’ was claimed to be fireproof (sounds pretty cool huh, what a pity it turned out to be asbestos). It’s thought the association between our slimy buddies and fire stems from their habit of hibernating inside rotting logs. When the logs were brought inside and thrown on the fire, the salamanders promptly made their escape – causing onlookers to assume they born out of the flames.
Not to be predictable or anything, but reds and golds seemed a suitable colour palette for my fire elemental. To capture the shape and movement of fire, I individually mixed the colour for each scale, blending them to create a flow of colour that highlighted the dragons form – cloaking him with a thousand tiny licks of flame.
Surprisingly this process didn’t drive me slowly irreversibly mad as it would 99% of the population. It was actually a very meditative ten hours .
If you attempt a dragon, or any other beastie in this style, I suggest you build him on a prop. In this case I used a small liqueur bottle. Having a prop gives you something to hold onto, making it considerably easier to work on your sculpture without squishing parts you’ve already finished.
(Believe me, nothings breaks your brain like realising your wayward fingertip just smooshed two hours of work!).
I’m lucky enough to have a full set of clayworking tools to help with the fiddly bits. If you don’t, never fear, a needle and a butter knife will do just as well for adding texture and details. If you have long fingernails these are incredibly helpful for smoothing difficult areas with leaving tool marks.
Fire elementals were originally the stuff of myths and alchemists’ labs. Xipil however resides in my living room – where he plays around our many candles, and we try and keep him away from the fire staff!